CHICAGO-The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization today branded Chicago Mayor Richard M. “Dick” Daley “a tax-raising failure who can’t or won’t control widespread corruption any more than he has controlled the city’s runaway spending.”

“Dick Daley continues to pat himself on the back, repeating the lie that he has ‘cut’ spending by over $2 billion,” said Jim Tobin, president of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI), “when, in fact, he has raised the city budget $2 billion since he took office in 1989, from $3 billion to $5 billion. Even students in the under performing Chicago public school system, which Daley indirectly controls, can calculate that $5 billion is larger than $3 billion.”
“To pay for this gigantic $2 billion increase, he has, since 1989, hammered Chicago taxpayers with higher property taxes, higher sales taxes, and higher taxes on liquor, beer, cigarettes, and many other items.”
“Daley’s midyear tax-hike package, supposedly $85.7 million, actually adds a tax burden of $108.7 million to those working and living in, and visiting Chicago, and would climb to almost $200 million in 2006.”
“Now Daley has another tax-raising brainstorm: he recommends that Cook County give taxpayers a hidden tax increase by reassessing property annually instead of every three years, giving taxpayers less time to control and invest their money.”
“Corruption under Daley has bubbled and oozed into virtually every facet of city life. At least five scandals have humiliated Chicagoans in 2004.”
“Of the latest two scandals, Branchgate involved two sisters, Judith Branch-Boyd and Toni Branch, who are accused of bilking the Chicago public school system out of $21,435 for overtime never carried out. In 2002, Branch-Boyd received the highest elementary teacher salary in Chicago, a staggering $164,400.”
“Brooksgate involved Brooks College Preparatory Academy, where administrators created 34 fictitious classes that gave them four extra teaching positions, costing Chicago taxpayers over $200,000.”
“Daley gripes that revenues are slow and that personnel costs continue to rise. Eighty-percent of money spent by the city and the Chicago public school system goes for salaries and generous benefits. Any well-run business would cut costs by cutting staff, but Daley is actually proud that unlike other cities, he has not laid-off many city employees. For a machine politician like Daley, city and school employees are more important than the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”
“It’s time Daley slashed the city’s payroll and start cutting, not raising taxes,” said Tobin. “It also may be time for Daley to step aside and let a more competent administrator run the city.”
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