Business Review Board / August 8, 2016

Emanuel Thinks More Taxes Will Solve Pension Woes

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Chicago has big problems — teachers who throw students under the bus, high homicide rates as a result of urban poverty, dire financial problems. On the latter, Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes he has the perfect solution to the city’s near-$20 billion pension shortfall: Jacking up water and sewer bills by a whopping 30%. Talk about whitewashing the issue.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Under Emanuel’s proposal, the new utility tax would be phased in over the next four years, with the average homeowner’s water and sewer bills increasing by $53 next year, or $8.86 on the bills sent out every two months. By the end of the four-year phase-in, that same homeowner would pay an additional $226 per year in water and sewer taxes, or $37.65 on each bill.”

The result of all this? “Once fully phased in, the new tax would produce an estimated $239 million a year to help reduce the $18.6 billion the city owes the municipal workers’ fund,” the Tribune claims, “which represents nearly all city workers except police officers, firefighters or employees who do manual labor.”

As Jazz Shaw observes, “What makes this even more of a stereotypical Democrat move is the distinctly non-progressive nature of this plan. At least when you increase the property taxes the wealthy tend to pay a bit more. (I believe Democrats refer to that as ‘their fair share.’) But the utility bills tend to hit everyone pretty much equally, so the city’s poorest residents will feel the pinch the most.”

Yes, but what was the infamous phrase coined by Emanuel himself? Ah, yes: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” His latest plan only more discernibly proves a broader point: Under leftism, everyone suffers, not just “the rich.”

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