Mo' Wranglin' Ove' Yo' Money
In case you haven't heard, it's budget time in Illinois, so that means good times for everyone! And since we're no longer in the Go-Go Nineties (much like the "Swingin' Sixties" but different from the "Naughty Naughts"), local governments have a lot of shortfalls and are scratching for every last revenue dollar.
In Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley seems to plan fixing the budget problems by raising sales taxes and fees, renting out the Chicago Skyway, and maybe, just maybe, getting a casino built in the city. But lots of folks don't like all the proposed new fees and taxes, and local watchdog group, The Civic Federation, has already expressed disappointment in Daley's plans to dip into the $1.8 billion payout derived from the Skyway's 99-year lease.
Over at the Cook County Board screaming matches are breaking out again between Board President John Stroger (aka John "I've got a county hospital named after me" Stroger) and reformist Board Commissioner Larry Suffredin over a $100 million revenue shortfall. According to the Sun Times, things got a bit hot:
During one shouting match, Stroger told erstwhile ally Larry Suffredin he hoped someday the commissioner would run for board president to see how difficult it is to put together a budget.
"I hope I do, too, 'cause I hope I'm running against you," Suffredin said.
"I hope you do, too, 'cause I'll beat you like I beat the others," Stroger said to the applause of his loyalists.
Finally, our favorite anacronistic local independent taxing body, the Suburban Cook County Tuberculosis Sanitarium District, has been feeling some heat over a possible dissolution of the group, considering they don't really have patients any more, and TB is generally taken care of in local hospitals. So, the group decided to stash away $800,000 for employee retirement benfits, just in case.