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Ald. Moreno, Ramirez-Rosa Butt Heads Over Tax Hike Vote

By Paul Biasco | October 30, 2015 8:44am
 Aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Proco Joe Moreno (1st)
Aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Proco Joe Moreno (1st)
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LOGAN SQUARE — Tensions flared between aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa during Wednesday's historic tax hike vote.

Ramirez-Rosa (35th), one of the council's loudest progressive voices, had rallied for weeks ahead of Wednesday's decision making his "no" vote clear.

He was joined by a number of northwest side aldermen who voted against the budget and $589 million property-tax increase.

The Northwest Side aldermen who voted no include Ramirez-Rosa, Scott Waguespack (32nd), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Deb Mell (33rd), Milly Santiago (31st), Anthony Napolitano (41st) and Gilbert Villegas (36th).

"I think it's because the Northwest Side of the city of Chicago is going to take a really big hit under this property tax increase," Ramirez-Rosa said.

RELATED: Dueling Rebate Programs Proposed to Lessen Blow of Tax Hike

Ald. Moreno (1st), who voted yes on the budget, blasted Ramirez-Rosa for later voting in favor of a $5.5 million tax break for a car dealership that is coming to the 35th Ward.

“It’s the facts. You stand up and try to be Mr. Champion leftist and Mr. Champion progressive, saying raise taxes on corporations and the same day you give a corporation a $5.5 million tax break. It’s about hypocrisy,” Moreno said during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

Ramirez-Rosa called the tirade a distraction from the tax hike vote and defended the vote Thursday.

The ordinance, which was introduced by Emanuel to give a tax break to Mid City Nissan for a new dealership at 3440 N. Kedzie Ave., passed unanimously Wednesday.

Ramirez-Rosa said Emanuel came to him with the deal and promised it would provide 260 union jobs with living wages and benefits.

"This is a family-owned business," Ramirez-Rosa said defending the vote. "They are creating dignified jobs. These are the types of jobs my residents are going to need if they are able to afford this massive property tax increase."

Moreno released a statement after Wednesday's vote calling Ramirez-Rosa's vote on the tax break for the car dealership "unconscionable."

The first ward alderman told DNAinfo he did what he thought had to be done to defend "a good budget."

RELATED: Absurdity, Hypocrisy and the Flubbed Joke at City's Historic Budget Vote

Ramirez-Rosa said there's a big difference between a billion-dollar corporation such as a Boeing getting a tax break, and a family-owned business such as the car dealership.

The car dearlership is estimated to generate $71 million in taxes over 10 years, according to the city. The property is currently a vacant industrial site and under the current state will generate an estimated $1.85 million in taxes over 12 years, according to Ramirez-Rosa's office.

Now that the tax rate has passed, Ramirez-Rosa said he is looking at additional rebate options for renters if a rebate plan doesn't make it through the legislature in Springfield.

Moreno has been pushing his own version of a homeowner rebate for lower-to-middle class homeowners.

Neither alderman's proposal was brought to the floor this week.

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