Attack ads begin in mayor’s race
By Abdon M. Pallasch Political Reporter email@example.com February 5, 2011 7:04PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The attack ads have begun in the race for mayor of Chicago.
Former school board chief Gery Chico Friday launched an issue-oriented television commercial against front-runner Rahm Emanuel, claiming Emanuel’s proposal to broaden the number of services covered by the sales tax is a “Rahm Tax” that will hit bowling alleys and barbers — a charge Emanuel denies.
“This is crazy. This tax is going to hit families when they don’t have one more ounce to give,” Chico tells bowlers in the ad as a bowling-lane worker announces over the loudspeaker, “Attention bowlers, pay the Rahm Tax.”
Asked if he was afraid that Emanuel, with $12 million to spend to Chico’s $3 million, would counter-attack with a better-funded attack campaign of his own, Chico said, “Bring it on!”
A mere 12 hours after Chico’s ad debuted Friday morning, Emanuel’s campaign began airing a response.
Calling Chico “desperate and running out of time,” Emanuel’s counter-punch points out that Emanuel’s proposal is actually to cut Chicago’s sales tax from 1.25 percent to 1 percent. Emanuel claims his broadening of the tax base would include only “luxury” services such as limousine and charter jet rides, pet grooming and Botox injections.
But Chico has been challenging Emanuel to produce an exhaustive list of “luxury” services he could tax to produce the $45 million his sales tax cut would cost the city treasury.
Emanuel’s list has been evolving. It first included “health clubs” but then as Chico began holding news conferences at neighborhood health clubs to say Emanuel’s plan could put them out of business, Emanuel said his plan would exempt neighborhood health clubs and tax only “luxury” clubs such as the Saddle and Cycle Club or the East Bank Club where Emanuel works out.
Emanuel admits he would have to negotiate with state legislators over what services would be considered “luxury” services covered by an expanded sales tax.
Also running in the Feb. 22 race for mayor are former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun; City Clerk Miguel del Valle; community organizer Patricia Van Pelt Watkins and William “Dock” Walls.
Contributing: Fran Spielman