Rahm’s grand plan

From afar, Chicago boasts one of the most majestic skylines in the nation. But travel just a few blocks inland, and one can immediately see that the city’s big shoulders are sagging.

Crumbling streets, decaying water pipes and a decrepit subway system pose serious challenges to those who are trying to fix Chicago’s infrastructure after nearly four decades of neglect.

In lieu of raising taxes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has put forth a controversial plan to fix the city’s crumbling infrastructure by partnering with private businesses. On this week’s episode, Need to Know sits down with Mayor Emanuel, who advocates for his plan to finance the city’s infrastructure modernization project with private capital.

 

Comments

  • Lauren Ayers

    The Need to Know program just started but, heavens to Betsy!, why didn’t Mayor Emanuel set up a Public Bank for this???  North Dakota has had one for 90 years.  Read all about it at PublicBankingInstitute.org. 

    The short version is that money becomes a public utility and no private bankers make money off the deal, but tax payers save big bucks.  Other countries have public banks too, why did he choose a private capital system from abroad instead?

  • Adamjonmonroe

    Taxpayers do not have to pay interest on a loan if infrastructure is paid for immediately. Much more fair and efficient would be to tax land a dash more. The money is already there.

    The interest is completely unnecessary. We do not need a loan. Each day our infrastructure plan is carried out, the value of the land beneath us will increase.

    This looks so much like a Daley move. He knows that, right? He gives these banks the interest on a giant loan? Why? Why give these banks all that money and have it paid for by people in the future? So, people today will accept it?

    We can collect it before we even start.

    The price of land in Chicago will rise if we announce an infrastructure program.

    The interest on this loan is a waste of money. It is a give-away to ultra rich non-workers guaranteed by law and backed by the already hard working people of Chicago. What will banks do to help? How will they earn that giant amount of money? Pick up a shovel?

    What is the benefit to taxpayers to pay interest on a loan, guaranteed by “future” taxpayers (me and you tomorrow)? Paying as we go, using the correct source for the revenue (increasing land values) will be much more impressive to potential lenders in the future in case we ever do actually need a loan.

    How do taxpayers benefit from raising their own rent? By owning land. Tax them, not business. If Rahm wants a new Chicago, he has to get the people who own it to pay for this renovation, not the people who will be building it and later, paying a higher rent for it.

    Adam Jon Monroe, Jr.

  • Dan Ross

    On 8/3/12, PBS broadcast a Need to Know program hosted by Ray Suarez.  The program described the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, including interviews with Mayor Raum Emanuel, with Bill Clinton’s presence and endorsement.  It is a public-private partnership in which Chicago borrows money from a few private companies to finance repair of deteriorating infrastructure.  Emanuel said that the 20th century methods are obsolete, so he has invented this new method for the 21st century.  Suarez accepted that claim.
     
    I disagree.  Stripped of euphemisms and cosmetic fluff, Chicago is just borrowing money.  Instead of doing it the straightforward way by issuing municipal bonds that anyone may purchase, Chicago is borrowing from just a few designated lenders.  Emanuel did not invent anything.  He reinvented the spoils system that was prevalent in the 19th century and early 20th century.
     
    There has been public criticism of private borrowing, not mentioned on Need to Know.  I do not think that anyone else has used the term “spoils system”.  I am deeply offended by the incompetent coverage on Need to Know.

  • Dan Ross

    On 8/3/12, PBS broadcast a Need to Know program hosted by Ray Suarez.  The program described the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, including interviews with Mayor Raum Emanuel, with Bill Clinton’s presence and endorsement.  It is a public-private partnership in which Chicago borrows money from a few private companies to finance repair of deteriorating infrastructure.  Emanuel said that the 20th century methods are obsolete, so he has invented this new method for the 21st century.  Suarez accepted that claim.
     
    I disagree.  Stripped of euphemisms and cosmetic fluff, Chicago is just borrowing money.  Instead of doing it the straightforward way by issuing municipal bonds that anyone may purchase, Chicago is borrowing from just a few designated lenders.  Emanuel did not invent anything.  He reinvented the spoils system that was prevalent in the 19th century and early 20th century.
     
    There has been public criticism of private borrowing, not mentioned on Need to Know.  I do not think that anyone else has used the term “spoils system”.  I am deeply offended by the incompetent coverage on Need to Know.

  • Anonymous

    I watched this last night, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of many other local projects undertaken in frustration with dysfunctional regional and national governments.  As an old Lefty, I completely understand the reservations about this project.  But I would challenge Chicagoans to come up with a less controversial plan.

    Sooner or later, the practical has to take over.  The infrastructure desperately needs renovation and refurbishing.  Legislatures and Congress have proved over and over again that no one should expect them to get an infrastructure program off the ground.  Moreover, the banks, having grown fat and sleepy on the taxpayer’s dollars, have gone into hibernation.  What’s a mayor to do?

    Emanuel has come up with a plan.  It’s a gamble, but given the set of circumstances, it’s currently the only game in town.  Let the rest of us see how it works.

    This should be a challenge to all mayors across the country, i.e., come up with a better plan and execute it.

  • Joemungai

    An Illinois State owned bank could finance public projects at less expense. Does Emanuel’s plan eliminate or impede the process of a State owned bank similar to the Bank of North Dakota?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/SirWinstoneChurchill Winston Blake

    “…after nearly four decades of neglect.”

    After four decades of Democrat neglect.

    Detroit is the same, looks like Tikrit, Iraq after 40 years of DEMOCRATS…