Ald. Thompson votes against water/sewer tax hike
Cites “unreasonable burden” on homeowners
CHICAGO (September 8, 2016)–Ald. Patrick D. Thompson (11) voted against the proposed water/sewer tax increase at Thursday’s meeting of the Chicago City Council Committee on Finance, saying the increase would be an “unreasonable burden” on his constituents.
“Fully funding our pensions for Chicago’s municipal workers is both our moral and legal obligation,” said Ald. Thompson. “But we must pursue this goal in a way that does not solely rely on the same group of taxpayers who are already facing an array of other increased taxes.”
Ald. Thompson said he has urged the Emanuel administration to seriously consider alternative revenue sources like video gaming and an expansion of the sales tax to include services as a means to meet the pension obligations.
Ald. Thompson said he agrees with the administration that the revenue source for the pension obligations need to be stable and sustainable–but cautioned against overreliance on a single funding stream.
Additionally, Ald. Thompson noted, the plan still requires approval from the Illinois General Assembly. “If the Governor does not sign this legislation, the whole plan becomes inviable,” said Ald. Thompson. “It’s premature to vote to raise taxes as part of a pension plan that has yet to be approved by the state legislature.”
Ald. Thompson also voiced concerns about the disparity between the initial projected revenue estimates from the proposed water tax and the actuarial analysis provided by Aon that aldermen received Wednesdayafternoon.
“I’m willing to take a tough vote like this to do right by the working men and women of Chicago–but we as legislators have to be able to make that serious decision based on the ability to review accurate information, and with adequate time to do so,” said Ald. Thompson. “I would prefer that we receive more time to review actuarial analysis.”
Ald. Thompson was elected in 2015. He previously served as Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner, and is a licensed, practicing lawyer.