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Emanuel rips Chico in first negative mailer

Rahm Emanuel campaign brochure

Rahm Emanuel campaign brochure

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Updated: February 9, 2011 6:04PM

It’s on.

Rahm Emanuel has issued his first negative campaign mailer.

The campaign flyer features a Photoshopped image of rival Gery Chico in front of a limousine. The mailer takes Chico to task for criticizing Emanuel’s sales tax plan.

“Gery Chico wants you to pay more and let the rich to pay nothing,” the flyer being mailed out to Chicago voters says.

That’s not exactly accurate — Chico has not made any proposal to hike or expand the sales tax.

Emanuel’s proposal would cut the city’s portion of the sales tax from 1.25 percent to 1 percent. That would cost the city about $45 million. Emanuel would make up the difference by extending the sales tax to “luxury” services not now taxed such as limousine and charter jet rental, cosmetic surgery, pet grooming and some gym memberships.

Chico has held news conferences at barber shops and gyms saying Emanuel’s numbers don’t add up and claiming Emanuel would have to tax everyday services to make up the differences.

Emanuel has offered an evolving list of what services he considers luxuries. Barber shops were never included but gym memberships were until Chico held a news conference in a gym criticizing the proposal. Emanuel then clarified that only high-end gyms such as the Cycle and Saddle Club and the East Bank Club — where Emanuel works out — would be covered.

At another press conference inside Ron’s Barber Shop in Hyde Park, Chico said, “If you think limousine drivers are rich people, I’m here to tell you they’re not. These are hard-working people. Maybe they have one car. Maybe they have two cars. They’re trying to make ends meet.”

Emanuel’s campaign sent a limousine which parked outside that conference with signs on it that read, “Gery’s tax-free ride.’’

Last week, Chico fired the first shot over the airwaves, calling Emanuel’s sales tax proposal “The Rahm Tax.” Asked at the time if he feared he would provoke reprisals from the much-better-financed Emanuel, Chico said, “Bring it on.”

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