Aldermen Vote "Yes" to Rahm's Massive Tax Hike
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2016 budget was approved by the City Council yesterday by a 36-14 vote. That's the closest some of us will see to a spirited debate in the council chambers in our lifetimes. Only four aldermen voted against last year's budget, an indicator of how unpopular the $588M property tax hike at the center of the mayor's budget is with residents.
The aldermen who voted against the budget are: Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th); Scott Waguespack (32nd); Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th); Brendan Reilly (42nd); Debra Silverstein (50th); Brian Hopkins (2nd); Harry Osterman (48th); Jason Ervin (28th); Deb Mell (33rd); Anthony Napolitano (41st); Chris Taliaferro (29th); Milly Santiago (31st); Roberto Maldonado (26th); and Gilbert Villegas (36th). Sadlowski Garza said the property tax hike will unfairly affect homeowners and believes Emanuel's administration didn't go far enough implementing efficiencies and reforms that would cut expenses.
Emanuel and aldermen who voted for the budget said there was no other choice, given the state of the city's police and firefighters pension funds. The budget includes a $9.50 monthly garbage collection fee, taxes on streaming services like Netflix, and taxes and surcharges on ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. All told, the budget includes $755M in new taxes.
Aldermen did praise Emanuel for removing proposals such as privatizing the city's 311 system. Still, this will be a bitter pill to swallow for home and building owners now bracing for higher property tax levies and supersized assessments next year.