Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chicago politics

Mayor Daley made it dramatically clear Monday what he thinks of recent accusations from Gov. Blagojevich that the city is to blame for a potential CTA fare hike.

"Cuckoo," Daley said in a high-pitched voice.

For what it's worth, from what I've read on the subject Blagojevich did screw Daley here. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) has been hit hard by higher gas prices and less money coming in at the state level (contrary to President Reagan's misguided beliefs, the only things that "trickle down" are budget shortfalls). CTA pushed hard and finally won a sales tax increase in the statehouse to help with their budget problems, but then out of nowhere the governor went and slapped an addendum to it mandating that CTA let seniors ride free.

This is the way of state and local politics. Irresponsible governors make themselves look good by rolling the tax burden downhill to mayors or forcing them to take on extra burdens so the governor can look good for the cameras. The mayors then have to do the dirty work of raising property taxes or lobbying the state government to raise sales/income taxes to pay for basic services like public transportation, sanitation, roads, police, etc., as well as the new governor-mandated services, which makes the mayors look extra bad.

When irresponsible governors become presidents, they do the same thing: cut taxes at the federal level to win votes, and make up the shortfall by sending less money to the states while also issuing them new responsibilities-- you may have heard Howard Dean refer to them as "unfunded mandates"-- to makes themselves look good, forcing state governments to raise taxes to deal with the new deficits. Sound familiar?

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