The editors of the Chicago Tribune tell the bald and sad truth:
Emanuel didn’t excavate the deep debt chasm into which City Hall has descended. But his administration has tumbled into the same habits as his predecessor. Chicago pols and public officials have grown accustomed — addicted, really — to the easy borrowing that lets them survive the next election without telling taxpayers the truth: We are consuming more in services than we’re collecting in revenue, and that foolishness has got to stop.
Yes, stopping the deficit spending that Chicago’s rising debt obscures someday will require a radical downsizing of the city payroll, an unsettling end to some services and outsourcing of others, a stark rise in taxes, or all three. Those slashes will inflict inconvenience, and in some cases hardship, on Chicagoans.
As me auld mither used to say “grasp the nettle”. What are Chicago’s politicians doing instead?
Of course, for many years Detroit was not today’s broke and broken Detroit. Msall again: “Detroit politicians made choices based on short-term political benefits rather than the long-term welfare of their city.”
Think on that as Chicago aldermen decide whether to authorize another up-to-$900 million in bonds backed by property taxes — and to double, to $1 billion, the amount of short-term bank money that City Hall can borrow to raise cash.
It’s time to grasp the nettle.