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Daley's Budget Passes, With Some Dissent

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

Photo by WBEZ's Kate Gardiner
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Mayor Daley's $6.1 billion 2010 budget passed, with slightly more aldermanic grumbling than usual, and 12 dissenting votes. 38th Ward Alderman Tom Allen voted against it, for the first time in his career as an alderman, saying that the budget failed to uphold the city's commitment to maintain $400 million in long-term reserves to make up for revenues lost in the botched parking meter lease deal. "Sometimes we sit in this room and think the 50 of us are breathing different air," Allen told the Tribune. Saying that the parking meter deal had angered "the people on the street breathing the real air," he couldn't vote for the budget. “We have breached our fiduciary duty to taxpayers. You can’t break a contract in 12 months that’s supposed to last for 75 years. It’s unconscionable. It’s irresponsible. It’s disingenuous. …The decision to raid this fundamental asset is mind boggling,” Allen said. (He voted for the parking meter deal, by the way.) 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti took a more folksy tack, saying "You don't eat your seed corn," after denouncing the city's plans to spend $35 million of parking meter money to give homeowners a few hundred dollars of property tax relief. (He voted for the parking meter deal, too.) The only aldermen who voted against the original parking meter deal to vote no on the budget was Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).

Daley defended his use of the parking meter and Skyway lease funds, saying that “now is the time that we must draw on them. [It’s] not a rainy day. This is a flood in the economy.” he said. “You know it in your own company how many people have been laid off…They’re losing their homes, food. They’ve lost their pensions, their health care. This is a very difficult time, not only for Chicago, but for the country. And you have to have a human side of this. You cannot disregard people.” He challenged those that opposed using parking meter funds to balance the budget, asking “What taxes and fees would they raise to balance our budget? No one presented a bill to raise a tax or raise a fee. What major city services would they like to cut? No one said that.” And while the mayor has slashed city services and cut both pay and benefits for city workers, this year's budget is larger than last year's.

If you're wondering who voted no, here's the list, in order of ward (via the Trib).

  • Manny Flores, 1st
  • Robert Fioretti, 2nd
  • Pat Dowell, 3rd
  • Sandi Jackson, 7th
  • Ricardo Munoz, 22nd
  • Sharon Dixon, 24th
  • Scott Waguespack, 32nd
  • Thomas Allen, 38th
  • Brendan Reilly, 42nd
  • Vi Daley, 43rd
  • Tom Tunney, 44th
  • Joe Moore, 49th