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Chicago Mayoral Candidate Wants To Settle City Debts by Taxing the Neighbors

The Windy City is bleeding population. A commuter tax is most certainly not going to help.

Bill DaleyTerrence Antonio James/TNS/NewscomChicago has declined in population for the third year in a row, according to the census, marking it as a significant outlier in America's urban centers. It's saddled with enormous debts, partly due to unpaid pension obligations, and the city is trying everything from taxing sodas and human waste, to holding citizens' cars for ransom, in order to make money.

One candidate to succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel (soon to be heading for the exit himself) has a novel idea to fix the city's financial woes: stealing from the neighbors.

Candidate Bill Daley, son of former Mayor Richard J. Dailey, brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Emanuel's successor as President Barack Obama's chief of staff (can Chicago's political dynasty get any more incestuous?), is proposing a commuter tax to try to get more money from suburbanites who work in the city of Chicago. "We have to find new revenues, and everything is on the table," he said in a speech.

A city inspector in 2010 determined that a 1-percent commuter tax could potentially raise $300 million dollars. Except, the Chicago Tribune notes that when Philadelphia instituted a commuter tax, it saw job losses, and other cities who have done the same "are generally considered economically stagnant and have lost a substantial percentage of their populations since 1950."

Yet, when asked if he thinks a commuter tax would drive business out of the city, Daley said he didn't think it would.

It's a baffling response given Chicago's current trend of population loss, one matched by the surrounding areas and the state of Illinois. Why would you even think about giving people another reason to avoid going to the city? Why would you think people would accept this given that the current economic climate is already driving people out the door?

Adding a bit more absurdity is the fact that Daley's plan to deal with Chicago's crime problem is to spend even more money on a new department at City Hall to fight crime. That means more city government employees and therefore even more public employee pension obligations! (Oh, and he's blaming the crime problems on not having enough gun control.)

Daley did say that he was also potentially supportive of changes to the Illinois state constitution that currently prevent the state and cities from scaling back any pensions or benefits for government employees, a rule that is driving the state to ruin. But in the absence of that change, adding to the pension crisis via a new city bureaucracy and then trying to get even more money from a reduced population seems remarkably irresponsible.

Photo Credit: Terrence Antonio James/TNS/Newscom

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  • Bubba Jones||

    He's not really wrong. Moving to the burbs is one thing. Leaving the metro area entirely is more difficult.

  • Longtobefree||

    BS.
    It's a piece of cake; call U-Haul, load it up, and beet feet down the road to a warm, no state income tax haven, and enjoy a bit of freedom.

    Or at least enjoy it until enough of your damn socialists friends join you and vote in the same madness that drove you out.

  • Agammamon||

    Moving your business headquarters a handful of miles out of the Metro area isn't that difficult. See: All the liquor stores on the edges of dry counties.

  • Matthew Chalice||

  • John||

    Balko left reason and turned into a first class retard. Between Balko and Julian Sanchez, Dave Weigal Weigal has real competition for the title of biggest leftist shit bag ever to work at reason.

  • Matthew Chalice||

    Is Sanchez a leftist?

    I disagree with Balko on Halloween costumes (among other issues), but his book on police militarization is still a masterwork.

  • John||

    He seems to be on every subject except policing. And he has like so many people living in the journalistic fart bubble allowed Trump to drive him completely insane.

  • Matthew Chalice||

    Niskanen Center libertarianism is the term you're looking for.

  • DiegoF||

    Niskanen are not libertarians at all. Even they have finally officially admitted this and no longer claim to be.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    John is jealous because Balko writes more than John comments.

    It's also pretty funny that John can see TDS in others.

  • Griffin3||

    Not worth responding to. And yet ...
    Balko has done more for police demilitarization, in one month, than you have done in your entire life of ranting on this and other boards. Redirect your jealousy, young sir.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Balko has done more for police demilitarization, in one month

    This is a pretty hilarious claim. Where exactly are police organizations less militarized than they were before Balko came along to call them out?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Getting other people's money is a problem when they keep running away.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Are you saying Chicago should build a wall? (as in Berlin, not US-Mexico)

  • Agammamon||

    Once a wall is up there really is no difference. The guns will point in as well as out.

  • John||

    I just saw where Rickey Jay died. What a shame. Rickey Jay and his 52 Assistants is an amazing show. He was what Penn and Teller tried to be but were not cool enough to be.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Wow, one of the greatest card mechanics of all time. Too bad.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    "We have to find new revenues, and everything is on the table," he said in a speech.

    Cutting back on spending is apparently off the table.

  • John||

    Appearently they have hired Peter Suderman as an advisor.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Even worse. A large part of their spending is on pensions. The article says their is state legislation afoot to make it illegal to reduce pensions.

    There is absolutely no stomach to reduce unsustainable government programs.

  • Careless||

    It's already illegal. The work is to undo that

  • ||

    Exactly this. It's in our state constitution. Pensions currently can't be reduced.

  • DiegoF||

    By the way, everyone: Bill Daley is apparently supposed to be on the pro-business extreme of the mayoral candidates running next year.

    This time around, there seems to be a lot of buzz that there will be major turnover in the Chicago City Council and an enormous number of the old machine hacks who had been in there for decades are going to be replaced by some far-left community activist types. (The machine critters had shown remarkable adaptability to our changing times. To have a bunch of old "deez dems an' doze" retired cops and gangsters who had once specialized in railing against blacks invading the neighborhood and the like, now talking about banning plastic bags for global warming and demanding social justice for undocumented trans activists, and so forth, while remaining as dirty, crooked, and thuggish as ever, was certainly a sight to behold.) Who knows if it's true this time, but the consensus seems to be that change is in the air.

  • John||

    Wow. That would be amazing.

  • DiegoF||

    ...By the way, just googled the king of those adaptable thugs, longstanding party boss Ed Burke, the leader of the opposition to Chicago's first black mayor back in the early 1980s, and today commonly called "the most powerful man in Chicago," but nonetheless one of those (his ward is now mostly Latino, despite his personal redrawing of its boundaries every ten years) whose seat (he has only faced opposition twice in almost a half century, and never remotely serious) is supposed to be in serious jeopardy this time. ("Why are you still running?" one of his staunchest allies, recently suddenly decided to retire himself, publicly asked him in the papers.) Found out his office was raided by the FBI this morning. Seems he had once represented Trump in some real estate deal long ago, so of course the headlines are "Trump's lawyer's office raided by FBI." Thought I'd gotten the wrong Ed Burke for a second!

    Then again, this is nothing particularly unusual for Illinois politicians. It's happened to Burke himself so many times he probably just ordered a beef sandwich and went about his day.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yet, when asked if he thinks a commuter tax would drive business out of the city, Daley said he didn't think it would.

    He knows that it will. He's just banking on the exodus taking longer than his term in office.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    He's probably right. Businesses will flee the city from the already high taxes, excessive regulations, and corrupt politicians.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Unless that sort of thing IS your business.

  • Fats of Fury||

    He's wants to tax commuting workers but not allow them to vote. What a swine! So Chicago is bleeding population but leaves behind a bleeding population.
    The major problem with Illinois finances is a state constitutional amendment protecting public pensions. You can't reduce the payout and the thieves have all kinds of tricks to increase pensions to themselves. Politicians get a separate pension for each different office they hold. Government workers claim unused vacation and unused sick days as compensation to boost their payouts. Many make a lot more in retirement than when working and a lot of retirees get rehired into their old jobs so they can double dip. If there was an honest judge in the Federal judiciary they would invalidate that clause as unconstitutional as no one outside of government has that protection.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Taxation w/o representation, same as Philly.

    Philly even went to far as to collect city wage tax from visiting athletes.

  • Jerryskids||

    Candidate Bill Daley, son of former Mayor Richard J. Dailey, brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Emanuel's successor as President Barack Obama's chief of staff....

    How could you neglect to mention that he was also chair of Gore's campaign committee in 2000? If nothing else, Daley made the most outrageously hysterically hilarious statement of the campaign when he said of the Florida recount fiasco that he'd never seen such election fraud in his life. Richard Daley's son complaining about election fraud isn't a case of the pot calling the kettle black, it's a case of the color black calling the kettle black.

  • Rat on a train||

    They enjoy getting workers from the city suburbs who go through our their school systems that are bright.
    Also, just tax all foreigners living abroad.

  • Uncle Jay||

    A commuter tacks won't help.
    A commuter nail won't help either.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    Meh. Most of the best jobs fled to the northern and western suburbs decades ago. I suppose this will just end up driving a few more companies out there.

  • SimonP||

    Uh. Best jobs for low-skilled employees, maybe. Certainly there are job centers in the northern and western suburbs that draw talent, but the "best jobs" in the city are still clustered downtown.

  • DannyAMcKinnon1995@mail.c||

    I think his proposal is completely legal. So do in other states and this is quite normal. Such a strategy will allow our state to develop. After all, a student who will write a term paper is not important where the money will be taken from. If the neighbors can help in this matter, it is very good.

  • ||

    There is currently, sort of, a commuter tax in Chicago. There is a food and beverage tax in the Loop (where almost all commuters work).

  • The original jack burton||

    I live about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago, but in the great state of Indiana. We have new subdivisions springing up all over our county and most of the homes sold are to Illinoisians before the homes are even built.

  • SimonP||

    Yeah, only chumps don't free-ride!

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    SimonP admits that urbanite shitlibs are free-riders.

  • SimonP||

    Choads living in the industrial wasteland that is East Chicago are hardly "urbanite shitlibs." The "urbanite shitlibs" all live north and west. Hicks southwest, and then I presume the trash goes to Indiana, where they get the lake effect snow, choking pollution, and limited options for getting into the city.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Shitlib SimonP apparently thinks new subdivsions of upper middle class residents are "trash".

  • SimonP||

    "Steal."

    Well, first of all, let's be clear about who's "stealing" from whom, here. Commuters living in Chicago's suburbs find that lifestyle appealing only because driving or taking commuter rail into the city works for them, and it only does so with massive public subsidy. That's city money paying for streets and street maintenance and subsidizing rail; that's zoning and land use policy that requires or promotes the construction of parking spaces; that's forgone public spending on other public benefits that would be used by residents of the city (e.g., buses and subways). It's not at all inappropriate for a mayor to want to recoup some of that value from the residents and businesses that rely on these implicit and explicit public subsidies.

    That said, whether a commuter tax is the best way to do this, I don't know. It might be better to expand and equalize tolling on the region's arterials and implement congestion pricing, for instance.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Commuters living in Chicago's suburbs find that lifestyle appealing only because driving or taking commuter rail into the city works for them, and it only does so with massive public subsidy. That's city money paying for streets and street maintenance and subsidizing rail; that's zoning and land use policy that requires or promotes the construction of parking spaces; that's forgone public spending on other public benefits that would be used by residents of the city (e.g., buses and subways).

    Chicago can go ahead and not subsidize transportation infrastructure for their high-income workforce anymore. See how that works.

  • SimonP||

    RRWP admits that viable economies rely on socialism.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    SimonP admits that socialism can't exist without capitalism.

  • SimonP||

    You've pegged me for the wrong kind of "shitlib," RRWP.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    No, I've nailed you exactly, shitlib.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The biggest laugh is your claim that "roads" are unique to socialistic governments.

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