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Ricketts plan, luxury tax suffer deadly fate

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011

* On Sunday, Senate President John Cullerton dusted off his plan to use Chicago’s amusement tax growth to help finance upgrades outside Wrigley Field

The multi-million dollar proposal would upgrade Wrigley’s creaky creature comforts for both fans and players. The Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs, said they would not alter the fundamental appearance of the historic ballpark.

The idea fell flat in Springfield this past winter. The Ricketts family and their lobbyists tried to push it through in the same lame duck session that approved a 67 percent increase in the Illinois income tax.

In a Fox Chicago Sunday taping, Cullerton said that he thinks the measure has better prospects in the current spring session. He hopes the General Assembly would vote to approve it by Memorial Day.

“There should be some conditions,” Cullerton said. “First of all, Mr. Ricketts has to come up with half the money himself. He should make sure that he comes up with that first. If there’s money to be spent inside the park, that’s where he should spend his money.”

* But Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is a no-go

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he wants to find a way to save 97-year-old Wrigley Field, but the taxpayer-financed plan being floated anew by Cubs’ chairman Tom Ricketts is a “non-starter.” […]

After striking out with Mayor Daley and Gov. Quinn, Ricketts had hoped for a different outcome with Emanuel.

But during a post-election meeting with Ricketts, Emanuel said he reiterated the “healthy skepticism” he expressed during the campaign about using taxpayer dollars to renovate Wrigley.

In other words, it’s back to the drawing board for Ricketts.

“They know my position from the past. It was an informational meeting. It was a short meeting. … And I let them know that, if all we did was re-package old ideas, that was a non-starter,” he said.

* Meanwhile, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stated the obvious yesterday. Rahm Emanuel’s “luxury tax” is dead in the water

With Emanuel at her side, Preckwinkle said she likes the concept, but believes the Illinois General Assembly is unlikely to act.

“My understanding from my conversations with the people in Springfield is that the legislature there is sort of done on the tax issue,” Preckwinkle said. “And having raised taxes on individuals and businesses at the beginning of this year, that’s all that anyone can expect coming out of Springfield.”

* Related…

* Looking for the best primer on Chicago politics? Try ‘The Lawyers Who Reformed Chicago

* City Hall on edge as Emanuel moves in - Bureaucrats, lobbyists wonder about their futures under the next mayor

* To merge or not to merge services? Emanuel and Preckwinkle ask a committee.

* Chicago And Cook County’s “Gang Of Six” Joint Committee Announced

* Weisberg Dethroned: Chicago’s Cultural Ambassador’s Departure And What It Means For the Future Of Events In Chicago

* Corporate Titans Fund Emanuel’s Political Group

* Chicago nonprofits fund Emanuel team’s transition - Leading foundations agree to cover $200,000 in costs

* Emanuel said to be making own list for top cop - Mayor-elect says he won’t just sit and wait for search panel’s report

* Alexi Giannoulias being considered for two top education posts?: Word is Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has spoken with Giannoulias about chairmanship of the Chicago City Colleges board and Gov. Quinn has chatted with Giannoulias about heading the Illinois Community College board.

* Chicago’s Pending Rat Problem

* Preckwinkle ‘appalled’ at alleged drinking, sex, theft at Cook County pool

* Dueling Ads in Northwest Side Runoff

* Danny Solis: The Establishment Candidate, but Campaigning like a Rookie

* 38th Ward: The Inspector vs. The Inspected

* Shiller, Tunney grill Cappleman, Phelan in 46th Ward forum

* 36th Ward race: Condos, clubby atmosphere, experience all campaign fodder

* 6th Ward: Lyle vs. Sawyer a choice of political style

* Influence Pedaling in Uptown

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:08 am:

    It’s hard to remember a business group that has had such bad luck in timing as the Ricketts.

    Back when they were finalizing their deal with the Tribbies, it looked like they were:

    –buying a young, 97 win team that would challenge for the pennant for years;

    –shedding the Wrigley Field liability with Blago and Big Jim working with Zell to spin off the park before purchase;

    – building on a cash-cow that sold out every day with happy customers gladly disposing of their income and was making a killing scalping its own tickets in the secondary market.

    Not so much right now. They’re going to have to wait, I’m guessing for a while.

  2. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:13 am:

    I don’t know about you, but after I read the headline, ‘The Lawyers Who Reformed Chicago‘ I could help but see every other reference post with a jaundiced eye:

    “Bureaucrats, lobbyists wonder about their future”
    “Gang Of Six”
    “Corporate Titans Fund Emanuel’s Political Group”
    “Chicago nonprofits fund Emanuel team’s transition”
    “Mayor-elect says he won’t just sit and wait for search panel’s report”
    “Corporate Titans Fund Emanuel’s Political Group”
    “Preckwinkle ‘appalled’ at alleged drinking, sex, theft at Cook County pool”
    “Condos, clubby atmosphere”

    Thank God those lawyers cleaned things up! Can you imagine the headlines if they didn’t?

  3. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    non profit foundations spending $200,000 to fund Emanual’s transition…man, what a waste. There are so many organizations out there who could have used that money a lot more than Emanual. With the state so far behind on payments, there are tons of social services agencies in and around the city which are struggling to survive. A little piece of that $200,000 could help any number of organizations find a bit of breathing room.

    Instead, it gets spent on helping Emanual find some nice drapes for the 5th floor.

  4. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 10:30 am:

    Depending on your neighborhood, the coyotes ought to be able to take care of the rat problem. Around Swedish Covenant Hospital you can hear a bunch of them howling whenever an ambulance goes by.

  5. - The Captain - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 11:48 am:

    Could the Bronx Zoo snake help our rat problem? Two birds and all.

    Easy prediction: John Kass uses the “rat” problem for a week’s worth of lousy stories.

  6. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 12:30 pm:

    Alexi G. is not really all that qualified to head up either Board. He is nothing more than a nice-enough guy who played b-ball with Obama and had access to a bunch of money to buy his Treasurer post. He was a light-weight for Senate and I’m glad he lost. Being State Treasurer — his only public service job ever — does not make one qualified to head up Chicago City Colleges.

  7. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 4:39 pm:

    Public subsidies for sport teams should be over. Even when governments were solvent it was a terrible idea. We are cutting social services but subsidizing billionaire owners paying shortstops hitting 210 millions a year.

  8. - mokenavince - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 5:37 pm:

    White Sox open at home April 7th, forget the problems of the Cubs and all the fans from Iowa and cheer for the Chicago White Sox. Be there!

  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 30, 11 @ 8:47 pm:

    The “Lawyers who Reformed Chicago” article in the links above is an educational and worthwhile read.

    The author is Don Rose, the gourmand, jazz cool cat and political barracuda who helped elect, among others, Jane Byrne, Harold Washington and Jim Edgar.

    Rose proposes that the Chicago federal judiciary promoted by Sen. Percy and appointed by Presidents Nixon and Reagan cleaned out a lot of Daley I bench hacks and paved the way for landmark lawsuits by goo-goo liberals that dealt tremendous body blows to The Machine.

    You don’t have to buy all of it to enjoy a good review of the federal intervention in Chicago politics and a pretty good yarn.

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