Just one percent of Chicago voters support hiking city property taxes as a means to shore up Chicago's underfunded pension funds. That's according to a new poll conducted for the Chicago Sun-Times, which also asked voters to weigh in about the upcoming mayoral election.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants aldermen, who are up for re-election next year, to approve a $250 million property-tax increase over a five-year period to tackle Chicago's municipal and laborers pension systems, which serve about 57,000 workers and retirees and together have a $9.4 billion shortfall.
When asked about three other specific revenue ideas for a city pension fix, 25 percent of the 511 Chicago voters surveyed said they favor a “commuter tax” on those who live in the suburbs but work in Chicago, according to the telephone poll conducted Wednesday by the firm of McKeon & Associates for the newspaper. Twenty-five percent of respondents also said they prefer a financial transaction tax on LaSalle Street exchanges, while 21 percent said they favor a city income tax to "help save city employee pension funds." Just one percent said the city should raise property taxes. (Thirteen percent responded "other" and 15 percent said "don't know").
The poll of registered Chicago voters who are “very likely” to vote in the February 24 municipal election has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
Emanuel, who is waiting for Gov. Pat Quinn to sign state legislation designed to overhaul the city's municipal and laborers pension systems, has already ruled out a transaction tax and some other pension revenue alternatives put forward by aldermen.
Meanwhile, the 511 registered Chicago voters were also asked, "If the election for Mayor of Chicago were held today, for whom would you vote?"
Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Emanuel, 26 percent said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, 10 percent said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, 5 percent said Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), 3 percent said Former Chicago 9th Ward Alderman Robert Shaw, and 27 percent were undecided. Shaw is the only person on the list who is a declared candidate to challenge Emanuel in the 2015 mayoral election.
The poll also showed that 51 percent of registered Chicago voters believe Emanuel is not doing a better job of running the city than former Mayor Richard Daley. Eighteen percent said Emanuel is doing a better job than Daley.
Click through for more on the results from the poll, which also asked voters whether they feel safe in the city of Chicago and if they think the Chicago Public Schools district should spend $60 million on a new, North Side selective-enrollment high school to be named after President Barack Obama.