Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Fun with Chicago numbers
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Fun with Chicago numbers

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011

* 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

Kinda misleading.

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wonderin - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 10:54 am:

    Where is the city’s comparison of Monday and Friday absenteeism to their always present private sector benchmark? I would expect Monday and Friday absenteeism is high in all industry across the nation.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    Weirdness from the inspector general. Not a lot on his plate or something? Why is he roaming around in revenue policy?

  3. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    I think the IG’s point was to get people talking– and thinking– in more concrete terms about the budget shortfalls. It seems to be working.

    Furthermore, whatever cuts/new fees and taxes come out of the debate pols are hoping people will say, “Well, it’s terrible but it could have been worse. At least they didn’t do X.”

  4. - Dooley Dudright - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    I say good for Ferguson. IMHO, he’s got a lot of excellent ideas.

    Sure, many of them are political nonstarters — but it’s high time that SOMEBODY posed them.

    Actually, this is a good setup — not that it was designed that way, of course. Ferguson tees up a whole bunch of ideas, and the mayor trashes (or ignores) most of them — for now.

    Let them incubate a little. And just watch: several of Ferguson’s suggestions — implausible as they may seem today — will slowly move toward mainstream thinking, and will indeed come to pass.

  5. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    I had a friend call me yesterday screaming that Alderman had no right to charge a “commuter tax” on LSD. I had no idea what he was talking about. Now I know where all this craziness came from…

  6. - reformer - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    The tax I expect Rahm to jack is for water and sewer. That way suburbanites pay, but it’s done in a low-key way they won’t realize, unlike a commuter tax or a city income tax. Water rates skyrocketed during Daley’s last few years.

  7. - The Captain - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    Hey, you, yeah you: WRONGDOING. That’s your mandate. Leave the policy to the 51 people who got elected.

    At some point (probably when you realized you could follow in David Hoffman’s footsteps into a top tier race) you decided you were the IG, the Mayor, the auditor and the budget committee director. You’re not.

    Also, remember a few weeks ago when you went around whining about how you were understaffed? Yeah, we do too. Hiring more people for you to come up with lame ideas like putting tolls on the LSD isn’t what we want from you.

    Get a clue.

  8. - Steve Bartin - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    Does anyone think a Chicago city income tax is in the cards?

  9. - BelleAire - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    reduce the absurdly fabulous health benefits;
    charge the employees more for the reduced benefits;
    get rid of 30-50% of management or put them back to work;
    Rahm and his PR people spend more time on the job than issuing statements about work;
    reduce number of Aldermen;
    implement 40 hr work week.

  10. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 12:05 pm:

    Does anyone think a Chicago city income tax is in the cards?


  11. - Steve Bartin - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    Questions for anyone concerning a city income tax. Would the Illinois state legislature have approve it? How likely is that?

  12. - Its Just Me - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 12:22 pm:

    Rich, the most under reported part of this craziness is that many of these “ideas” would require a change in state law. Lake Shore Drive is legally a state highway and federal law means it can’t change to a tollway. Also, even though Chicago is home rule, state law doesn’t let them charge an income tax, ESPECIALLY TO NON RESIDENTS! (taxation without representation)

  13. - Objective Dem - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 1:01 pm:

    One of the ironies of the situation is that the IG is doing the job of the Budget Office. If he wants an efficient and effective city, he shouldn’t perform the job of another department.

    There may be a handful of the suggestions that would be appropriate for him to study; but overall he is way out of his field.

  14. - chi - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 1:31 pm:

    “reduce the absurdly fabulous health benefits”

    Please describe what’s so fabulous about the health benefits, BelleAire, because I think you have no idea what you are talking about.

  15. - reformer - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 1:58 pm:

    The legislature would have to authorize the City to tax incomes of anyone who works in Chicago. That seems pretty unlikely, given how difficult it is to raise the state income tax. On the other hand, that supposed GOP tax nirvana called Indiana authorizes counties to impose their own income tax.

  16. - Objective Dem - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 2:37 pm:

    One of the dumbest proposals is “Eliminating all Tax Increment Financing Districts to increase tax revenues to the City’s general fund by an estimated $100 million annually” First of all, TIF is a legitimate economic development tool that works great if properly used. Second, eliminating TIFs will mean the City will lose hundreds of millions in TIF revenues. Seems like Mr. Ferguson doesn’t know much about economic development or budgeting.

  17. - Edison Parker - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 3:39 pm:

    First of all, TIF is a legitimate economic development tool that works great if properly used

    That’s a pretty big “IF.”

  18. - Objective Dem - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 4:06 pm:

    I happened to look at the org chart for the IG’s office. I would be interested in knowing how many supervisors he has that have limited number of staff reporting to them.

    For instance, the Director of Investigations has 4 people reporting to them, including a Ast. Director of Investigations. That Ast. has 3 Chief Investigators reporting to them. The Team 1 Chief Investigator has an Ast. Chief Investigator, 3 Supervising Investigators, and 5 other staff.

    Using supervisor to employee ratios is valid, but it is also complex and requires understanding the job duties. It doesn’t seem like his report reflects this complexity. And it doesn’t seem like he practices what he preaches.

  19. - Objective Dem - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    Edison Parker, Its “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” Part of the problem is the Chicago Reader does not like TIFs and makes them out to be worse than reality.

  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 9:21 pm:

    OD, TIFS in Chicago were abused to give Daley an unaccountable slush fund. They robbed the schools of local money, putting more pressure on the state.

    Daley banked the TIF money, along with the proceeds from the sales of the Skyway and the parking meters (he wanted to sell Midway, too), to chase his Olympics whale. When he crapped out, he cashed his chips.

    Isn’t it amazing, after 20 years of conventional wisdom that Daley was the Irreplaceable Man, that life goes on, and maybe the city might get better management? We put up with a lot of stuff worshiping at the cult of personality.

  21. - wishbone - Wednesday, Sep 28, 11 @ 10:05 pm:

    Making city workers put in 40 hours. The guy is an ogre.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Rauner was wrong about "record levels" of unionization
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
* Pritzker's inauguration ball tix will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation
* Rauner claims he's been too busy to reflect on his term
* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller