Aldermen try to "Blago" property transfer tax before OK'ing it
Chicago aldermen voted 41-6 to OK a 40% hike in the property transfer tax that the buyer pays, but not before trying to "Blago" the bill by adding yet more free rides -- this time for active duty and disabled vets, according to the Tribune.
Also, Mayor Daley was in fine form, saying that any alderman who voted against the tax should call the CTA and tell them to have buses and trains bypass their ward -- "if you have the courage." Daley predicted that if they did, "We'll have to call 911 to protect you and your family" from angry constituents.
The tax is the final piece in the transit funding puzzle, with proceeds earmarked to help pay for CTA pension shortfalls from years of underfunding the pension plan for workers to pay for operating costs.
The Sun-Times story on the bill's passage notes that the council DID include what may well be a worthless exemption of the tax for senior citizens. And there's still some question whether alderman can mandate the free rides for vets and military personnel. That's still under scrutiny, but CTA Prez Ron Huberman said it appears the move may in fact be legal.
Voting against the tax: Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward); Sandi Jackson (7th); Sharon Dixon (24th); Rey Colon (35th); Brian Doherty (41st); Bernard Stone (50th). But if you live in those wards, I'm thinking your CTA access is safe; I doubt if any of those aldermen will be asking the CTA to bypass their wards.