Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ald. Cappleman on His City Budget Vote

From today's email newsletter from James Cappleman (46th Ward),  When/if Ald. Pawar talks about his budget vote, we'll post it here as well.  Ald. Osterman's explanation of his budget vote is here.

"Our city is facing unprecedented financial challenges due to decades of mismanagement that that many of my colleagues and I inherited. Tough decisions have to be made. If we are going to swallow this bitter pill, there has to be a give back to residents. Residents throughout the 46th Ward told me over and over again they wanted more police. During the budget hearings I pressured Supt. McCarthy to make a commitment to more police, including a timeline when this would happen.

This week, I was told that the 19th Police District would get 25 police officers during the first quarter of next year and an additional 10 officers before the year's end. This did not include the additional 8 officers that will be added next month. I will be in constant communication with the 19th district commander and Supt. McCarthy to make sure they fulfill their commitment.

Additionally, since I was elected in 2011, I have been pushing for an independent budget office to address Chicago's massive fiscal issues. This office would provide aldermen with unbiased information to help us make the best decisions and stop another privatization fiasco like the parking meter deal. It took a few years, but I was happy to join my colleagues to establish the Council on Fiscal Analysis (COFA). Without the establishment of this council to provide me and my colleagues with unbiased information, I would have voted no on this year's especially tough budget proposal.

In COFA's 64-page report, it was made clear that if the City fails to make its required contributions to its pension systems, the State Comptroller would then be required to withhold payments to the City of Chicago to cover these payments.

In essence, if there was no property tax increase after all the budget cuts we had already made, it would be impossible for us to meet our pension obligations and we would then be required to do massive layoffs of police, firefighters, and Streets & Sanitation workers in order to meet this required mandate. These cuts would not only be crippling for residents' quality of life but would freeze economic development in our City.

Politically, a "no" vote on this budget would have been much easier for me to do, but I voted "yes" based on COFA's thorough analysis and because it was a skillful response to one of the greatest financial predicaments we've ever had to face as a city. In order to have a growing and thriving city, residents must feel safe and have quality city services. This budget puts us on the path to financial stability without reducing the quality of life for current and future residents.

If I am true to my commitment in being a public servant, I have to be willing to make the tough decisions that will benefit the City, and our ward, in the long term... even if it is unpopular. The residents of the 46th Ward deserve that commitment."

1 comment:

  1. I've come up with some overwrought analogies for this tax increase situation.

    I won't use the first because it involves Beethoven's 5th Symphony in C minor and flatulence. Not going to go there.

    The second is thinking of the whole city as a six flat condo building filled with different types of owners. I picked six flat condos because there are one or two around our lovely ward and it's an easy argument to make. Typically in such a building you have some folks who are thinking about moving in a relatively short time period. You have others who may plan to be there for the long haul.

    Now let's say they have a leaky roof and they have a meeting in someone's condo to discuss what to do. Short term owners may say "screw it, get me a bucket of roof tar and a ladder and I'll patch it so it's ok until after I sell next year." Long term owners may say "That's merely a temporary measure we need a new roof and a special assessment to pay for it."

    Who's right? It's a rhetorical question, dummies. The roof needs to be replaced and delaying it is like putting a band aid on a gunshot wound or playing Russian Roulette with live grenades. The outcomes ain't gonna be purdy.

    Now the arguments that this tax increase shouldn't have happened until EVERY cost saving measure are taken are wrong. It's too late for that. The longer we wait the worse the situation is going to be. We're paying tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year in unneeded interest on debts and bonds for various local governments because the credit ratings are so bad. That needs to be changed NOW.

    The looking for ways to cut expenses can go on while the taxes are being raised.

    All the wonderful ideas various people have regarding raising revenue in other ways aren't going to happen. There is NOT going to be a city income tax or financial transaction tax. The city council is NOT going to be reduced to 11 members. Bike riders are not going to be licensed or fined for blowing thru stop signs and even if they were I suspect it's going to come up a few hundred million dollars short of making a substantive difference.

    However, and there is always a however,there are things that can be done short term to help the city's financial situation.

    1. This shit needs to stop. Having paid city spies follow the alderman around to see what they're saying is infuriating. It's been going on since Daley was da mare.

    2. Casinos

    3. Perhaps I'll elaborate later. My pizza is almost here.