Chicago's mayoral candidates are none too keen about the income and corporate tax increase Democratic lawmakers struck earlier this week, except for Miguel del Valle and Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins. Here's a round-up of what the candidates (or their surrogates) are saying about the deal:
- Gery Chico's campaign spokeswoman Brooke Anderson emails that Chico is opposed and "disappointed that our state is even in this situation, all because Springfield ignored the tough decisions for years. While Gery is encouraged that the revenues will support a better education for our children, he is disappointed in the lack of property tax relief and more cuts. He is particularly concerned about the excessive tax hike on businesses."
- William "Dock" Walls is also opposed. "I don't like the deal. I don't believe you raise taxes during these tough economic times," he said, citing fears the deal would damage the state's employment prospects.
- Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins, who has advocated for creating a progressive income tax structure in Springfield, is supporting the bill, simply because the state is in debt and critical systems are threatened without the revenue, according to campaign spokeswoman Sara Sedalacek.
- Miguel del Valle told the Sun-Times (before the deal was struck) that "The mayor says, ‘No,’ I don’t understand that. He understands that we need that money. Chico and Carol [Moseley Braun] are against it — it is irresponsible [to oppose it]. It is pandering at it’s worst. How can we deal with the $16 billion deficit? We need those dollars.” Del Valle called on Rahm Emanuel to support the deal.
- Emanuel has expressed "reservations" about the deal, according to campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. Among them: the lack of property tax relief in the final package. "Rahm has outlined how he would approach the city's fiscal challenges
differently than state leaders did in this legislation, by reviewing the
budget from top to bottom for savings and efficiencies before even
considering new revenue," LaBolt wrote in an email. He did not say outright if Emanuel favored or opposed the tax deal, however.
- Moseley Braun's campaign, in a press statement that touted her "fiscal conservative" credentials, said the former senator is "against the income tax increase because it will have an especially adverse effect on Chicago’s working class families without allocating additional money to Chicago."
As we've noted over the past couple of days, the tax deal is a first step in righting the state's fiscal ship. It's not perfect. Left unaddressed is the state's investment deficit, something all the would-be mayors should care about as well as the regressive nature of the state tax code. The deal does mean, however, that Chicago Public Schools will get paid on time again and receive the money the state owes it. Same with important local institutions like UIC. And Chicago-based social-service providers hammered by the state's deadbeat ways are breathing a sign of relief now that Gov. Pat Quinn has signed the measure. It'd be nice if the would-be mayors (except for del Valle and Watkins) would recognize these positive affects for the city they are seeking to lead.