No, they aren’t stealing quarters out of the meters – It’s the $1.16 billion Morgan Stanley paid the city to lease the meters for the next 75 years. Read all about it here.
Of that billion, approximately $300 million of the original amount to fill a deep budget hole in the 2009 budget. Of the remainder, $320 million was designated for a “rainy day” fund and $400 million was put into a long term reserve fund. What has happened is that 90% or $1 billion has gone into this year’s budget, and the rainy day fund and the long term reserves are left wanting. Are you surprised?
Although Chicago is known for its rather questionable governmental practices, I can’t imagine that this wouldn’t happen in any city. Give a politician money and they will spend it. Period.
That’s the problem with these long term leases. They look good up front, but after the money has been paid, well….you know. The money is gone and the asset is gone. The city gets nothing for the next 75 years. Seems like the “great deal” for the city of Chicago may not have been such a good one after all. Who is lining up for similar issues – Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and the list goes on.
This has to do with feeding the beast or starving the beast. If there is money available, government grows. If there is no money, it shrinks. Bureaucrats will do anything to keep feeding the beast – If they can’t raise taxes by law, they will sell off assets like the city hall, fair grounds, and parking lots and meters. Short term gain, long term loss. What are they going to sell when it’s all gone?