Over the last few months, State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) has emerged as the leading state legislator calling for a new approach to the City of Chicago's tax increment financing program. He has introduced legislation in the General Assembly that would send unused TIF dollars back to various government agencies at the end of each fiscal year, a move that would erode Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's control over the TIF districts and the money they contain. The Board of Education alone could get some $535 million if the proposal was passed out of Springfield and signed into law, Fritchey says.
A story published today by the Chicago News Cooperative says that the North Side representative is now mulling more than reform of Daley's TIF empire. Fritchey, the News Cooperative reports, has "added his name to the list of politicians who say they are considering challenging" the mayor in the Feb. 22, 2011 municipal primary election. Fritchey had this to say about the mayor's style:
People want intelligent debate on decent proposals. They are tired of being told, ‘This is what we are doing, here is the deal, take it or leave it.’ It’s healthy to offer competing alternatives and ideas. Not every proposed idea has to be seen as a challenge to his authority, but that has been the case.
But Fritchey, who is presently campaigning for a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, says he's only considering the idea -- he'd only run for mayor "if I felt there was a broad core of support out there." Similarly, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who recently called Daley a "horrible manager" of taxpayer funds, is tacking toward a re-election bid to city council, as is Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), also much discussed in recent weeks as a mayoral candidate.