You've got to give Fran Spielman credit—her opening sentence in today's account of the City Hall budget debate pretty much sums everything up.
"A windfall from the sale of Chicago parking meters that was supposed to last for 75 years would be nearly exhausted in just one year to stave off tax increases and provide token property tax relief, thanks to a $6.1 billion 2010 budget approved today," she wrote.
Think about that, folks. For the next seventy-something years, every nickel you pay to those dreaded parking meters will be going into the coffers of some conglomerate headed by Morgan Stanley. And all the money Morgan Stanley gave Chicago will have been squandered so the mayor can say, "I didn't raise your taxes—in 2010."
Even though, of course, your property taxes continue to go up, up, up thanks to our old friend Mr. TIF. Is this a great scam, or what?
All this from the administration that bills itself as masters of the budget. One more time: thank you, IOC, for sparing us from Mayor Daley's Olympic games.
By the way, I take full blame for the mayor squandering all those parking meter millions on a one-shot budget deal. Yes, yes, it's all my fault, because on September 3 I predicted the mayor would raise property taxes to erase the $520 million shortfall. So he blew the whole multimilllion-dollar shebang just to prove me wrong.
It will be interesting to see what he comes up with next year when we're on the eve of an election. By then he'll probably have auctioned off the water works—anything to prove that Reader guy wrong.