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BILL RADKE: This week, Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley is due to lay out his plans to fix the city’s record $655 million budget shortfall. He’s expected to pay for it, in part, by dipping into the city’s reserves.
That is not sitting well with everyone,
as Chicago Public Radio’s Tony Arnold tells us.
TONY ARNOLD: Chicago’s City Council caused quite a stir back in December 2008 when it leased its parking meters to a private company and got more than $1 billion up front. But for the next 75 years, nothing. At the time Mayor Richard Daley justified the deal as a creative solution in troubled times.
MAYOR RICHARD DALEY: As the economy gets worsening, this will become very, very challenging for us to make sure the budget is balanced every year.
But the recession continued. Now the mayor wants to use the parking meter money to help plug the city’s record budget deficit.
Kent Redfield is a political science professor with the University of Illinois.
KENT REDFIELD: Long-term leases, particularly if they’re driven by short-term budget problems, may not serve the interest of the citizens.
Daley has announced he won’t stand for reelection in February, after 20 years in office. The next mayor may want to think carefully before leasing other city assets.
In Chicago, I’m Tony Arnold for Marketplace.