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More Budget Problems for Daley

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 21, 2009 5:40PM

Photo by Nick Suydam
In spite of a possible $300 million budget shortfall, Mayor Daley took a break from practicing Act Two, Scene Two of Julius Caesar to assure Chicagoans that he really, really, really doesn't want to lay off 1,600 city workers. After all, his love of our great city's fine civil servants is well documented.

While the the Fifth Floor of City Hall was asking city workers to accept bigger concessions, including pay cuts, more furlough days and reductions in benefits and vacation time, a SEIU, which represents some city workers, held a press conference at City Hall demanding that some of the $1.2 billion in funding from tax-increment financing and the sale of city assets be used to close that budget hole. The union was joined by community leaders and a handful of progressive aldermen. Denise Dixon, director of Action NOW said, "In our neighborhoods, where we're dealing with foreclosure, we're dealing with potholes, we're dealing with cuts in city services. I would call this a hurricane, not just a rainy day." She added, "If I came home one day and my husband had sold off my furniture, all of my assets, and then my gas was cut off because he didn't pay the bills after he received the money, that would piss me off."

Daley responded that he would do no such thing. "It's a rainy day, but there's a flood coming. And when the flood comes, that's what we're concerned about," the mayor told the Sun-Times. "You cannot use capital for day-to-day operating [expenses]. If you [do], you go bankrupt. ... That is a disaster. Then, you lose your bond rating. Then, it's gonna cost you more money to borrow money. You're then going into quicksand. If that happens, God help you."