The speech came after the City Council approved the plan 41-8.
“At every level we have protected the taxpayers of the city of
"And we made sure those who are delinquent, those who are deadbeats, paid up, because the law-abiding citizens cannot carry the freight for everybody else," Emanuel added. "That is wrong to do. And a system cannot be created around allowing a permissible amount of cheating. It becomes epidemic. And, so we all decided not to taxes, but yes to responsible behavior. And we cracked down, even prior to this."
Emanuel did raise water and sewer rates, the cost of city stickers and the parking tax in his first budget aldermen approved in November.
Under the latest measure, made possible by a new state law, income tax refunds will be diverted to the city, possibly as soon as this spring, after those affected have a chance to protest the diversion before a state hearing officer.
The city hopes to collect between $8 million and $20 million in unpaid debt.
The measure will affect individuals and businesses that received final notices for debt owned on parking tickets, red-light citations and administrative hearing fines.
The hearings are held to determine building, fire and sanitary code violation fines, along with those levied for other infractions, like repeat false burglar alarms.
Emanuel said that the issue of addressing perceived flaws in the administrative hearing process is a different issue than whether to go after bad debt.
Speaking strongly in favor of the new measure, being used on some other cities like Joliet and Springfield, was Ald.
"I think it's only fair that we use every measure we can that is afforded to us to collect the debt," Austin said. "I know there are many who have objections to this, but how else do we collect on the debts that are owed to us."