Robling: New taxes could break Chicago
Chris Robling fears the latest tax increases being proposed for Chicago could be the added burden that breaks the entire system.
“I think that union shortsightedness will kill the goose that’s been laying the golden egg,” Robling, a Republican political strategist, told the Chicago City Wire. “The city is losing population, the state is losing population and more taxes in the city will only make it harder for people to stay, and that means it will make it harder for the city to pay all it owes to the unions and over the long run hasten the fiscal demise of the city by effectively reducing revenues and further deepening our fiscal imbalances.”
Chicago Business reports a group of progressive activists and union stalwarts have aligned to push for additional revenues in the form of a “LaSalle Street tax” on financial transactions and a 3.5 percent tax on households with annual incomes greater than $100,000.
In addition, the coalition is calling for the creation of a municipal bank that would assume the duties of investing pension funds and underwriting city bond issues.
While the added revenue is said to be earmarked for such services as free community college for all, a program to alleviate homelessness, free universal early childhood education and to pay down pension debt, Robling said not much of what is being promised really matters.
“None of that matters to the unions or (their) members,” he said. “They have shown time and time again to have only two agenda items: One is more money and two is less accountability.”
The added tax on city dwellers residing in households topping $100,000 is estimated to bring in as much as $1.4 billion in annual revenues, while others facets of the plan could generate somewhere in the neighborhood of another combined $3 billion.
A “LaSalle Street tax” is defined as a tax on “every trade running through the city’s futures and options exchanges,” which Robling thinks will do more harm than good.
“God forbid this should be adopted, because if it is adopted the exchanges will leave Chicago before it is effective,” he said. “Chicago will lose its place as the global center of risk management and will lose thousands upon thousands of jobs. It will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and the fiscal imbalances of the city with respect to union obligations will be even worse than they are now.”