Two aldermen looking for last-minute ways to head off painful budget cuts proposed by Mayor
Ald. Matthew O’Shea, 19th, and
Other aldermen worked behind the scenes to limit planned reductions in tax rebates to condo owners, scale back plans for a $2-a-day hike in weekday parking taxes and find an alternative use for at least one of the three police stations Emanuel plans to close.
All were signs that aldermen continued to tinker at the margins of Emanuel's proposed $6.3 billion budget.
“We have a few days left around the clock to make sure we’re tweaking and adjusting this budget in a responsible fashion,” said
Aldermen and administration officials weren’t sure how much new money could be raised by broadening the tobacco tax — as
"I think it'll probably take a while to be heard in committee and adopted, so I would say it has no effect on" the budget proposal, Burke said. Changing the city tobacco tax also would require changes to state law, Emanuel administration officials added.
Preckwinkle on Wednesday also defended her proposal to raise alcohol taxes as part of her proposed $2.94 billion budget set for a Nov. 18 vote.
Preckwinkle stood with health care leaders at Stroger Hospital to say higher taxes could curb consumption and lessen alcohol-related health problems. She wants to raise $10.9 million next year by increasing the tax on wholesale alcohol prices.
The tax on a 24-pack of beer would increase 6 cents, and on a 750 ml bottle of vodka by no more than 50 cents, her office said. Preckwinkle said alcohol would cost less by 2013, when she plans to eliminate the final quarter of the 1-percentage-point sales tax hike pushed through by her predecessor,