Dear Member of the
International Olympic Committee:
Chicago's finances are not healthy.
We are broke and getting broker.
Today's update is from NBC Chicago's online service
. The citizens here know all this and they are increasingly turning against the 2016 bid because they see the connection between the city's inability to run itself properly and the amount of money required to successfully stage the games.
City Budget Bomb: It's Gonna Get Worse - But there's a two-click solution
- Fri, Jul 31, 2009
The bad news is that next year's city budget is projecting to be even worse than it's been this year.
Mayor Richard M. Daley
's administration Thursday predicted a gaping hole in next year's
budget that will eclipse the current financial problems - even after
the city exhausts its brand-new $320 million rainy day fund, the Chicago Tribune reports.
anticipated $6.2 billion budget for next year could be more than half a
billion dollars in the red because of plummeting tax collections and
rising wages that account for more than 80 percent of the city's
day-to-day spending, said Chief Financial Officer Gene Saffold. He
announced the gloomy prediction as Daley aides began briefing aldermen
in anticipation of public hearings next month.
The good news is that a simple solution is at hand: $1 billion in unspent TIF funds.
Whet Moser notes the potential TIF rescue plan in "How To Fix A Looming City Budget Apocalypse In Two Easy Clicks."
Moser points to a Progress Illinois post that notes
"It seems ridiculous to be redirecting so much money away from the
general tax base at the same time that revenues are sharply declining." Progress
Illinios has "indeed, with a little creative thinking and flexibility
on the part of city officials, there are several adjustments to the TIF
system that could provide some relief for cash-starved taxing bodies in
The Daley administration is unlikely to want anything to do with that - now or in the future. It's planning to use TIF funds for the Olympic Village, for example.
Maybe not getting the Olympics would be the best thing for the city budget.
speaking of redirecting money, maybe all that private cash raised by
Chicago 2016 could fit into the equation if the bid doesn't come our
Another revenue source: the money that could be saved by cleaning up City Hall.
"Hundreds of millions of dollars of waste," University of Chicago at Illinois professor Dick Simpson said in the spring when he issued a report on the state's "corruption tax."
So there you have it, budget solved.
It may take three steps instead of two, but it'll be worth it.
Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.
Neighbors from Chicago's South Side gather at the University of Chicago President's mansion to protest the closing of a community health clinic. They see the connection between the city's deteriorating finances and the Olympic bid.