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Monday, December 11

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City Council Wed Dec 02 2009

Mayor Daley's Budget: One Fine Piece of Assets, Pt. 2

Mayor Daley's budget, which relied on draining the reserve fund and making deep cuts (in some places) to last year's budget, passed easily today after some heated debate. Voting against the budget were Aldermen Flores, Fioretti, Dowell, Jackson, Munoz, Dixon, Waguespack, Allen, Reilly, Daley, Tunney, and Moore. In there you have a mix of Aldertypes: instinctual independents like Moore and Munoz; the newcomer class of good government types, like Waguespack and Reilly; and then some headscratchers--like usual Mayoral auto-votes Tom Tunney and Vi Daley, who represent well-heeled lakefront wards (Vi Daley, Lincoln Park; Tom Tunney, Lakeview). Then you have Sharon Dixon, who opposed the budget because she saw nothing in it for her ward, and was particularly incensed that TIF funds were not being fairly allocated; Fioretti who couldn't abide the drain on reserves with no long-term plan to replenish it--and presumably the same rationale for Flores (see interview with him, below). Alds. Dowell and Jackson, like Fioretti, argued that it was fiscally reckless.

The big sticking point for many, in fact, was the drain on the long-term reserve; Ald. Moore also expressed problems with the cut to certain health services.

There's no doubt that the budget represents stop-gap governing; much of the funds are coming from the leasing of assets that will stay in private hands for literally generations to come, and with the revenue from those assets controlled by private interests, the evaporation of the funds they created is literally taking away from future generations to avoid painful decision making today. To be fair, what the alternative is isn't clear. Aldermen offered lots of platitudes about mortgaging our future without any concrete solutions or proposals as to what to do about it; there isn't enough to cut, and nobody wants to propose tax increases.

The final vote count was 38-12. Alderman Burke recited the lyrics to "Tomorrow" by Annie.

Typically, Daley budgets pass with 49-0, 48-2 type margins. This 38-12 vote represents his worst margin of victory.

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