* The Chicago Tribune almost never runs local campaign polls by any other outlet, no matter how reputable. Yet, the paper is apparently willing to publish the results of an Internet poll. Strange…
A parent-advocacy group whose members have criticized Chicago Public Schools’ efforts to offer financial incentives for a lengthened school day found that most respondents to its online survey support a longer day.
Raise Your Hand leaders said 68 percent of the 1,222 survey takers, made up of parents and teachers from 230 schools, said they favored a longer day. About 43 percent said they supported a longer school year.
There was no explanation about how the respondents were recruited for the survey. And there was no explanation for what this group is or how it’s funded. The “poll,” by the way, is here.
* The easy part of being Chicago’s Inspector General is you can toss out a bunch of revenue ideas for the city that have absolutely no chance of passage and nobody blames you or even questions why you’re doing it. Why the IG would consider tax hike proposals to be part of his “mandate of promoting efficiency and effectiveness in City government” is beyond me, but let’s check out his list. Some of these aren’t bad ideas, but most ain’t going anywhere…
· Reducing the ratio of managers to non-supervisory employees in City government to save more than $100,000,000 annually
· Eliminating all Tax Increment Financing Districts to increase tax revenues to the City’s general fund by an estimated $100 million annually
· Increasing the work week of all City employees to 40 hours to save approximately $40 million annually
· Broadening the City’s Sales Tax to include more services generating an estimated $450 million annually
· Eliminating Police and Fire Duty Availability Pay that costs the City approximately $52 million a year
· Raise Water and Sewer Rates to the national average which would increase annual revenues by $380 million
· Eliminating Police Department Supervisor Quarterly Pay saving approximately $9.6 million annually
· Create a Commuter Tax estimated to generate $300 million in annual revenues
· Eliminate Tuition Reimbursement for City Employees, saving approximately $7.3 million
· Implement Congestion Pricing for vehicular traffic that is estimated to generate an additional annual revenues of $235 million
· Reducing the number of paid holidays for City workers from 13 to 10 resulting in annual savings estimated at $4.9 million
· Broadening the City’s Amusement Tax which would produce an additional $105 million in annual revenues
· Eliminate the Fire Commissary Contract for yearly savings of $2 million
· Doubling the City’s Boat Mooring Tax to generate an additional $1.3 million
* And check out the weasel wording from the inspector general’s press release…
…the inclusion of any option in this report is not, and should not be, construed as an endorsement by the IGO
In other words, “I’m not saying, I’m just saying…”
* Such a list, of course, leads to headlines like this one…
Report: Chicago could charge tolls on Lake Shore Drive
* Mayor Emanuel responds…
Across Chicago, residents, Aldermen and now the Inspector General have proposed ideas to tackle the difficult fiscal challenges ahead. Anything that will protect taxpayers and maintain the quality of services the City provides should be considered.
As I have said from the beginning, raising property taxes, income taxes or sales taxes is off the table. And asking drivers on Lake Shore Drive to pay a toll is also a non-starter.
There are a number of reforms and efficiencies in the Inspector General’s report that are promising, some of which we have already implemented and some we will give serious consideration.
* Earlier this year, Mayor Emanuel was upset about high absentee levels at Streets and San…
“A 33 percent daily absentee rate has put the city in the position that it’s making choices between services it need not make. . . . That’s unacceptable to the city,” Emanuel said then.
“Residents and taxpayers and people [who] expect these services deserve better and they will get better. I ask the leaders of organized labor to be that partner in solving this problem.”
At the time, Lou Phillips, business manager of Laborers Local 1001, insisted that the daily absenteeism rate is more like 5 percent.
* Yesterday, Emanuel pretty much confirmed that the union was right, but still tried to use the numbers against the workers…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday turned up the heat on garbage collection crews he has accused of chronic absenteeism — by releasing records that he said show a pattern of abuse on Mondays and Fridays.
In the 13-month period ending on Aug. 31, an average of 40 laborers a day had “unscheduled absences” on Mondays, roughly 6.6 percent of the daily workforce of 600. That’s compared to 27 unexcused absences or 4.5 percent on Thursdays.
On Fridays, 5 percent of the workforce was on unscheduled days off.
Bar graphs posted on the city’s website show a similar pattern for truck drivers. Their absenteeism averaged 19 on Mondays and dropped to 13 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
A difference of half a point between Thursdays and Fridays doesn’t really mean much, but whatever.