Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, according to Bloomberg.com, will soon ask the city to approve a $500 million increase in property taxes – the largest property tax hike in the history of the city. Chicago has the lowest credit rating of any city except Detroit and has $20 billion in unfunded obligations to the city’s pension fund.
The following statements from budget and tax experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank based in Arlington Heights, Illinois – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.
“In the words of Game of Thrones, ‘Winter is Coming.’ It is not hyperbole to say that the city of Chicago is on the brink of fiscal collapse, and with more tax increases on the horizon, residents will continue to flee the city and state. Until public employee union bosses agree to changing the pension system this won’t be the last tax hike, but it may be the last tax hike many Chicagoans stick around to pay.”
Mr. Nothdurft is a resident of Chicago’s North Side.
“Rahm Emanuel is poised to enact the largest property tax hike in modern Chicago history. Consider that for a moment. We live in an era of stagnant job growth in the private sector and marginal wage growth. Where does the mayor – and the ruling class of the city – think homeowners are going to find this money to pay for their binge spending? Perhaps it doesn’t bother the mayor that working families will have to buy food and clothing on credit cards, which they can barely afford to pay off now. But the people do mind. They are leaving Chicago, and Illinois, in record numbers every year. Unless of course they can find jobs protected by the police and fire unions. There’s no reason for those folks, or retirees from those professions, to leave. For them, Chicago is Las Vegas on the lake. They’ve hit the jackpot and keep on winning.”
Mr. Koprowski is a resident of Chicago’s North Side.
“Because of decades of mismanagement and ignoring early warning signs, the city of Chicago is now forced to make very difficult decisions carrying significant consequences for taxpayers. Residents are already overtaxed and overburdened, and the financial chickens are now coming home to roost.
“Unfortunately, until the city reforms its pension programs and stops making extravagant pension promises it can’t deliver later, Chicago taxpayers will continue to leave the city, making an already bad situation even worse as time goes on.”
“A $500 million a year property tax hike – which will probably only bring in about $300 million after one subtracts the business and high-earner flight from the city – barely makes a dent in a $20 billion debt, especially when the city is already borrowing and underfunding its pension plans by $1 billion a year. Mayor Emanuel’s plan won’t even balance next year’s budget, much less repay the debt.
“Mayor Emanuel inherited a city in decline – one bleeding productive citizens and businesses at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, he’s missed every opportunity to do something constructive to reverse the trend – this tax hike, included.”
The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.