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Trib wrings hands over zombie threat

Thursday, Sep 21, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Leigh Giangreco at Crain’s has a solid story today on the hunt for revenues to fund the upcoming Chicago budget

The Johnson administration also has nixed the idea of instituting a service tax, at least for the 2024 budget. In 2019, former Mayor Lori Lightfoot floated a tax on professional services like attorneys and accountants as a way to shore up the city’s pension payments, but the measure requires approval from the Illinois General Assembly, which is now entering its fall veto session.

“That’s an idea that has long been mentioned as a potential revenue generator,” Jason Lee, the mayor’s senior adviser, said of the service tax.

The tax could make fiscal sense given that consumer patterns have shifted away from buying goods and toward services, Lee said. He added that the mayor’s office is keeping the tax on its radar.

“It’s unlikely we’ll be able to make any progress legislatively prior to this budget,” he said. “It’s not being currently anticipated as a revenue generator for the (2024) budget.”

The mayor’s office is examining other revenue streams that wouldn’t require a stamp of approval from state lawmakers. Lee did not elaborate on what those potential sources would look like but did note that “efficiencies within government” would play a role in the budget.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons. Notice that nowhere did Giangreco’s story mention a financial transaction tax, which would also require legislative approval. As you have known for months, the governor and the two Democratic legislative leaders flatly oppose a financial transaction tax.

* And that brings us to today’s Tribune editorial

Ed Tilly started as a trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange in 1987 and worked his way up to chief executive officer. Under his decadelong stewardship, the exchange grew dramatically, and it was having a banner year until Tuesday, when Tilly’s Chicago success story ended abruptly.

Knowledgeable, popular among trading professionals and one of the most recognizable faces of his industry, Tilly resigned under pressure after an internal investigation found he had undisclosed personal relationships with colleagues.

And just like that, Chicago lost one of the anchors keeping a bobbling industry in place. […]

Against this backdrop — a perilous moment for an iconic employer born and bred in Chicago — Mayor Brandon Johnson continues his hunt for deep pockets to pick.

A much-discussed “transaction tax” may prove irresistible to a political neophyte staring at a budget hole and looking ahead to whatever sweetheart deal his pals at the Chicago Teachers Union will be demanding from him soon.

And then it goes on and on about the threat of a transaction tax without mentioning the formidable current and longtime Statehouse opposition, which was reported by the board’s own newspaper. I mean, the editorial didn’t even mention that the state government would have to approve such a tax.

Also, too, wasn’t that kind of an abrupt dismissal by the board of the scandal that led to Tilly’s ouster?

The Chicago-based group said in a statement on Tuesday that the failure by Edward Tilly to disclose the ties “violated Cboe’s policies and stands in stark contrast to the company’s values”.

Seems kind of important.


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:10 am:

    Here’s an idea - tax churches.

    Then, any funds they spend on *actual* charity can be used as a deduction.

    If they are actually operating as a charity in action, and not just in word only, then this would have no impact on a church.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:20 am:

    We are at the point of the exercise where it’s more than acceptable to wonder if blatant omission and purposeful omissions are omissions of a narrative choice.

    If that Trib Edit Board can show 60 and 30 wanting, and a governor willing to sign where the other reporters can’t… that would be an actual story.

  3. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:20 am:

    It would be smart for Brandon Johnson to take it off the city budget and revenue portion of his website. I get that Brandon doesn’t have that power as mayor, but the idea is very popular with the DSA and the DSA is turning into a very formidable force within the Illinois Democratic Party - Things can change pretty fast in politics.

  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:23 am:

    ===DSA is turning into a very formidable force within the Illinois Democratic Party===

    I think you may be exaggerating just a touch. lol

  5. - Jocko - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:25 am:

    ==But keep putting a target on their backs for your latest tax schemes==

    Cboe Global Market’s stock tripled over the past ten years and Ed Tilly pocketed 11 million last year alone. How can these businesses expect to survive under the yoke of Mayor Johnson? /S

  6. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:34 am:

    Must have been a slow news day. They certainly love rehashing old news and shaking the bushes to get people angered.

    Maybe they’ll do an opinion about how Madigan needs to cobble together the votes to get a pension fix? sn/

  7. - Google Is Your Friend - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    ==Also, too, wasn’t that kind of an abrupt dismissal by the board of the scandal that led to Tilly’s ouster?==

    They probably think Randy Michaels still runs the company.

  8. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:38 am:

    Good luck taxing attorneys who have total control over state government in Illinois

    They will sue your pants off if you ever try that

    Good luck taxing Churches, the revenue act of 1913 exempted them from property and income taxes in all 50 states and Washington DC

  9. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:38 am:

    “Trib wrings hands over zombie threat.”
    Imagine my disappointment, when I read this is about taxes.
    I thought they were finally taking the zombie invasion seriously.

  10. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:40 am:

    The Trib editorial board these days consists of three dudes: Chris Jones (the newspaper’s theater critic), Clarence Page (who lives in D.C.) and Greg Burns (a freelancer).

    It lacks the resources and time to be adequately informed enough to offer opinions.

    They should get out of the editorial business. They aren’t up to the task and regularly embarrass themselves.

  11. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 10:55 am:

    Seems like the Trib Ed Board dictates their editorials in ten minutes while on the treadmill. Never supported by any meaningful research, never thoughtful or well-reasoned. They are ghost payrollers, so I understand their attraction to zombies.

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 11:30 am:

    “exempted them from property and income taxes”

    IF they are using those properties for charitable uses. IF.

    There’s a lot of rubber stamping going on, because somehow just claiming to be a church is all that’s needed.

    Like I said, any uses actually used for charitable uses would mean they don’t pay taxes on that. Just like now, except with proof.

  13. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 11:50 am:

    ===A much-discussed “transaction tax” may prove irresistible to a political neophyte staring at a budget hole and looking ahead to whatever sweetheart deal his pals at the Chicago Teachers Union will be demanding from him soon.===

    This is an ex-parrot (banned punctuation.)

  14. - LastModDemStanding - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 11:51 am:

    Truly irresponsible of the Tribune Editorial to omit such important information from this article. They’re ensuing panic, when the folks who do play political baseball understand the transaction tax is DOA in the IL legislature and with Governor Pritzker.
    On the flip side, it’s time the Mayor to exercise responsibility and take this off the table as well, which prevents publications from having a leg to stand on. Start coming to the table with some realistic austerity measures and stop with the DSA, CTU, and those non-profit groups pie in the sky ideas.

  15. - Roman - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 12:58 pm:

    Early in the mayoral campaign, Johnson floated the transaction tax and a host of other long-standing lefty revenue ideas when he was focused on out-flanking Chuy as the progressive candidate. I don’t think any informed observer of Illinois politics (including some on Johnson’s campaign) thought much of it had a snow ball’s chance of actually getting enacted given the legislature’s role in shaping tax law. Oh well, he wouldn’t be the first candidate to float politically unrealistic solutions for tough problems.

    But I suppose if he’s gonna pitch very-unlikely-to-happen ideas to get elected, his political opponents are entitled to bring up those same proposals to criticize him, even if they are zombie threats. Though I’d like to think that Bloomberg News and even the Trib editorial board would hold themselves to a higher standard than conservative social media trolls and provide their readers some factual context about what’s likely and unlikely to actually happen.

  16. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 1:40 pm:

    The decline in the Tribune’s Editorial Board, such as from lauding the Edgar Pension Ramp as one of Edgar’s accomplishments to their current dismissal of it, reminds me of this.

    “… the descent into madness is usually preceded by obsession.” (Nicole Wallace) In this case, reacting to Zell destroying their pensions by trying to destroy public employee pensions.

  17. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 2:07 pm:

    Good on Mayor Johnson for not trying to do the undoable, with taxes that won’t be approved by the GA. That’s a sign of a good leader, working within the confines of what’s possible. There couldn’t be a bigger lesson in this concept than the previous governor.

  18. - Amalia - Thursday, Sep 21, 23 @ 2:53 pm:

    there’s lots of criticisms of the editorials of the Tribune. someone or ones savvy could provide short reviews with stars. Stars in reviews is something they understand.

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