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10/22/2009

City Hall Gamble

  While Chicagoans are relieved that city hall will hold the line on taxes, fines and fees in 2010 and that trash pick-up and snow removal efforts won't be scaled back, their Mayor and Aldermen will spend the next 12 months worried what the dice will say when they stop rolling.  

  The pols are betting that during 2010, the nose-diving economy will either "flat-line" or so improve that monthly tax revenues will recover enough to keep the following year's Chicago deficit under control.  In meetings with the Mayor's Office of Management and Budget earlier this week, aldermen were told to expect a 2011 projected deficit in the neighborhood of  "only" $94 million dollars.  That would be a number that presumably could be balanced without asking for a tax increase or drastically cutting services much more than they've already been cut.

  Believe me, the last thing the Mayor and 50 aldermen want to do during next year's budget process is recommend a tax increase or service cuts for 2011, which of course, is a city election year.  They want the bad news out of the way now.   But if the 2011 projected shortfall runs into the hundreds of millions again...as they say in a dice game...

...craps, you lose!

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