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CHICAGO–Christina Tobin, Vice President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), testified against Chicago’s proposed speed-camera ordinance on Wednesday, April 11. Speaking before the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety in City Council Chambers at City Hall, Tobin urged the committee “To kill the proposal to add speed-cameras all over the city.”

Tobin made the following points:

  • Chicago politicians say speed-cameras will reduce juvenile pedestrian crashes and deaths, but, in reality, these speed-cameras would just be speed-trap cameras to fund city pensions. The proposal has nothing to do with safety. It’s all about money.
  • The newspaper Towson Patch reported that when Baltimore County officials rolled out a network of 15 speed cameras in school zones in 2010, they said the program’s success would be measured in two ways: less speeding and fewer accidents. While speeding was reduced, the report showed no decline in accidents in those zones.

Tobin pointed out that as early as 2008, the head of Mayor Daley’s pension reform commission recommended a plan in which newly-hired employees would be put in 401(k) plans favored by private industry instead of unsustainable pension plans. Tobin stressed that Chicago residents need tax relief, not new fines or new taxes, adding, “There is no need to bleed Chicago residents to death.”

“80% of city spending is for salaries & benefits. Most of the Speed Camera revenue will ultimately be used to fund city pensions. Unfunded pensions are the #1 budgetary problem in the United States.”

Tobin’s testimony received coverage from news outlets covering the hearing. Of particular note is video from ABC 7 and WGN TV.

The committee approved the ordinance 7-3. The full City Council will take up the ordinance next week, where Mayor Emanuel will need 26 votes to pass it.