Can someone please stop this parade of bad ideas coming out of City Hall? Has no one there studied even the most basic theories of Economics? We guess we can't expect much from big city democrats, and Sneed is just a cheerleader/water-carrier for the Machine,
but isn't there a single adult anywhere in the room?
- Sneed hears an addition to a massive city property tax increase is being considered, which could generate $195 million a year!
Oh boy!!! $195 million!
- Sneed has learned Mayor Rahm Emanuel is eyeing a city commuter/congestion tax that could add mega millions to the city’s barren coffers at City Council Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Ed Burke’s (14th) suggestion.
Uh oh - Ed Burke? He of the trans-fat, foie gras, sugary drink tax ideas? This is headed downhill in a hurry:
- Upshot: Burke recently persuaded Emanuel to impanel a blue ribbon committee to study the feasibility and logistics of collecting a congestion fee from suburbanites who drive into the city, with a goal of easing Chicago’s notorious traffic problems.
A "blue ribbon committee"? That usually means a panel of morons appointed to be yes-men to anything the mayor or aldrecreature says. No one with an actual, you know, degree in Economics or who built a business (as opposed to inherited a successful company).
- Big bucks shot: The panel, which is being created as we speak, will look at how such a fee would be collected, where it could be collected, and the costs of operating such a program. At $10 a day, a congestion abatement plan would generate $3.75 million per week or $195 million per year, sources tell Sneed.
Road block: A number of factors make a congestion fee highly complex, including the fact that it could only be imposed on city streets. The city would not have the legal authority to collect a fee from people driving on state or federal highways.
Road stats: In order to achieve the goals for reducing emissions and generating revenue the Central Business District — as defined by the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Department of Revenue — would be the focus of any abatement.
Abatement would take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the evening rush-hour period.
An estimated 194,000 vehicles travel to the central business district from elsewhere in the city and the suburbs, according to a Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning study conducted before Feb. 2010.
Ummmm.....first Sneed says they want to soak suburbanites who clog up the streets. Then she quotes the "Planning" agency which says 194,000 cars come "from elsewhere in the city and the suburbs." This is blurring the issue and casts immediate doubt on the rosy "$3.75 million per week" Sneed is touting.
Then, Ed Burke says some things that make us (A) doubt his sanity and (B) think he's been hitting the glass pipe a bit hard lately. It does reaffirm our opinion that he is an unqualified moron, an economic dunce and a blithering idiot:
- “It would be a hard-fought battle, but in European capitals like London, it is extremely successful,” said Burke.
“New York Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg waged a losing battle to try and impose a similar congestion fee in Manhattan, only to be thwarted by the legislature,” he added.
“But I’m hoping it could be done. Anybody not a resident of the city and doesn’t have a car registered in the city will pay for the privilege of driving in a congested downtown area, specifically the Loop . . . or take public transportation.
“We’re talking businessmen, bankers, delivery truck services, vehicles, plumbers, electricians, you name it,” added Burke, who said it would involve automated electronic metering but no stopping on expressway tolls.
Well Ed, London is a congested city because it dates from the second century and doesn't have the advantage of being a planned grid like many American cities.
"thwarted by the legislature"? That's their job you idiot. But of course, being granted your seat by being the spawn of your father's loin and spending all that time as the mayor's "rubber stamp," we kind of get where you would think that the legislature exists to do the will of the elected and not the people they actually represent.
"privilege of driving in a congested downtown area"? What the hell does that mean? Most people view it as an inconvenience.
Here's the only truth in the entire big-wet-kiss-to-Ed-Burke of an article:
- “It’s a very attractive idea to get taxes to fund the government’s expenses, but it could have unintended consequences,” said a Sneed source.
The biggest hurdle (taxing cars on city roads, not federal or state highways), is going to drive people to those roads, increasing congestion - we haven't researched the whole thing, but there are undoubtedly a few routes that are exclusively state or federal.
So let's say you charge them an extra $10 a day - it works out of another $200 a month for that person to drive downtown. That's on top of whatever they pay already to park somewhere - probably many thousands of dollars a year. Those people might be able to absorb a $1200 hit every year...if they're suburbanites that is. City dwellers wouldn't be paying this, right?
Then there's Ed's contention "We’re talking businessmen, bankers, delivery truck services, vehicles, plumbers, electricians, you name it," These are the people who keep downtown running. If they're going to have to pay another $10, that's going to be a drag on their bottom line. Costs get passed along. Now you're making it inconvenient to companies looking to squeeze every dollar into their bottom line - companies with dozens, even hundreds of trucks with suburban/out-of-state plates and stickers on their trucks because you've already made it prohibitively expensive to register their vehicles here. Hell, even the city leases it's vehicles from out of state. It becomes an economic disincentive.
So you drive out the little guys and the workers, who now park in the burbs and commute in on Metra or CTA lots. You've made those bottom lines bigger (though still operating at a loss in the case of the CTA) at the expense of parking lots and garages who contributed to the city's tax coffers.
And what about companies that actually, you know, listen to their employees about how inconvenient and expensive it's gotten to work downtown? A happy workforce is a productive workforce (and the opposite is true - look at the CPD). What's to stop the companies from moving to the cheaper burbs? Sears? RH Donnelly? United has a token presence downtown, but nothing that can't be relocated with the flip of a telephone switching relay. Even the Exchanges have made legit noises about moving operations out of Chicago should certain harebrained schemes ever come to pass. Those are guys who know the value of a dollar.
Has anyone even done an economic impact study?
Labels: dumb ideas