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To the editors:

Ben Joravsky's June 3 Neighborhood News column on suburbanites who work in Chicago addresses a crucial problem, but shows the lack of solutions being offered, either by the City Council or most of its critics. Suburbanites who work here are not a problem per se, since there are also thousands of city residents working in the suburbs. The problem with suburbanites is not that they are taking "our" jobs (since we also take "theirs") but that they benefit from the city while doing little for the city that supports them. When they visit our zoo and use our beaches they face no charge, unlike city folks who use their beaches, visit Brookfield Zoo, etc.

Quotas are not the answer, for employers must be free to hire the most qualified people wherever they live. Instead, when I unseat Bernie Stone as the 50th Ward's alderman, I will propose a $1 a day entry fee for suburbanites who work here. While nobody knows exactly how many of them there are, a conservative estimate would be about 200,000. Therefore, an entry fee would raise at least $50 million a year for city services. While that revenue would not by itself solve the city's problems, it certainly would not hurt.

But the real issue is to fix the city's economy. When Chicago was boomtown USA 40 years ago, nobody cared how many jobs were held by suburbanites because there were lots of good jobs for everyone. What we should work on is not deciding what percentage of city jobs residents should have, but how to rebuild the city's economy as a whole.

In his Reader article "Making It" (September 10) David Moberg addressed the need for a manufacturing comeback in Chicago. He correctly pointed out that industrial parks, as the city's Economic Development Commission concedes, can create as many as 150,000 good jobs, dwarfing the number that even world-class casinos could create. While casinos would help, we should put more emphasis on creating the industrial parks that we have been promised for two decades.

Moberg also mentioned that we must clean up contaminated industrial sites, renovate old factory buildings, etc. To that I would add that we need major tax reform. Every mayor since Jane Byrne vowed to repeal the hated head tax, but none did. Of major U.S. cities, Chicago has the third highest hotel taxes and the fifth highest taxes overall. If we really want businesses to return, we must make it viable for them.

While Singapore is the most spectacular example of the economic expansion that lower taxes make possible, we can find such American examples as Atlanta and Charlotte. With the world's greatest airport and a great location, Chicago can again be a boomtown. When that happens, most city vs. suburb bickering will become a thing of the past.

Tyrone Walls

50th Ward aldermanic candidate

W. Farwell


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