Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Will he or won't he?

Posted By on 03.05.08 at 09:14 PM

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It's back and forth with Mayor Daley when it comes to the state's plan to use public dollars to help out poor Sam Zell.

Back in January, when former governor Jim Thompson, chair of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, first proposed that the state buy Wrigley Field and issue bonds to fix it up, Daley opposed the plan. Then a few days after that he suggested he was reconsidering his opposition. He seemed to have softened his stance until earlier this week, when he delivered his latest opinion at a press conference. Now he's against it again.

His more comical remarks concerned Thompson and Trib Co.'s insistence that the city relax Wrigley's landmark designation as part of the deal. "I’m not going to be the mayor saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to relax on the historic aspect of Wrigley Field. Mayor Daley says it’ll be torn down.’ That’ll be a great headline for the Sun-Times. . . . I’m a White Sox fan. . . . That would be the end of me.”

More seriously, he spoke out against Thompson's proposal to pay for rebuilding Wrigley with a TIF on sales taxes, a new twist on the property tax TIFs the mayor himself can't get enough of.

"Where does the sales tax go? To help the city budget [and pay for] a lot of activities," Daley told reporters. "If we were to some way sequester that and say, 'We're not going to use that money. We're going to find it someplace else'--that's very challenging and difficult to do."

My sentiments exactly. Mayor Daley's making it absolutely clear that no matter how the state and Thompson try to spin it, a sales tax TIF for Wrigley comes at the expense of everyone else. There's a lot of money to be made on those $6.25 beers.

So I'm happy to say the mayor and I see eye to eye on something--at least till he changes his mind again.

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