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Aldermen Question Daley's Tax-Relief Plan

By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 24, 2009 3:00PM

Photo by City of Progress.
Is the City Council growing a spine? That may be the case, as the Finance Committee sent Mayor Daley's plan for property tax relief back to City Hall Monday for revisions. Facing a steep increase in property taxes this year, Mayor Daley (who claimed not to understand how property tax assessments work) has proposed a tax-relief plan - to the tune of $35 million - for homeowners that see their tax bills rise. According to the Tribune, Daley's plan breaks down like this:

The taxable grants would range from $25 to $200, and the average would be $150 under the plan. A family earning less than $25,000 whose property taxes rose by $350 would get $200, while one earning less than $200,000 facing the same increase would get $100.

The taxable grants would be financed from the proceeds of the bungled parking meter lease. "Are we getting the best bang for our buck by giving the person making $199,000 a year a hundred bucks?" 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore told the Tribune. "As far as I am concerned, this is nothing more than a political gimmick that will do nothing to provide relief to people who really need it."

The Finance Committee has asked the mayor to take another swing at the proposal, targeting relief to families who earned no more than $100,000 a year. "There are so many loose ends here that it just needs to be tightened up," said committee chair and 14th Ward Ald. Edward Burke. The proposal, which would cost the city $35 million, has been criticized by some aldermen, who think that the funds could be better spent restoring some of the unpaid holidays and furlough days that city workers will have to take next year. The city's chief financial officer Gene Saffold says that the mayor wanted the plan to be "as broad as possible within the resource constraints that we had."