Chicago Mayor Richard Daley last week said he is considering tapping surplus tax-increment financing revenue and privatizing a handful of prominent city services and events in an attempt to whittle down a $655 million shortfall in the 2011 budget.
“People don’t want to see government growing. They don’t want to see their taxes growing. This is very, very difficult economic times,” Daley said.
The patchwork of ideas included privatizing the city’s popular lakefront festivals, including the Taste of Chicago, as well as curbside recycling and the city’s animal shelter. The city would reap about $140 million if it sought legislation to free up a $700 million pot of surplus TIF revenue. Schools would receive about half of the surplus funds with other local taxing bodies receiving the rest.