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Sneed exclusive: Unpopular tax plan may reappear

Aerial Chicago Skyline. For Sun-Times~Lee Hogan

Aerial of the Chicago Skyline. For the Sun-Times~Lee Hogan

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Updated: May 10, 2014 6:40AM



The tax ax . . .

Sneed hears rumbles that a City Council proposal to levy a lease tax on office buildings may be in the mix of suggestions to restore two of the city’s pension funds to fiscal health.

Oy!

“Former Mayor Jane Byrne tried to get the City Council to levy a lease tax on the city’s office buildings during her term in office, which raised holy hell because it would be over and above the property tax they already pay,” a City Hall source said.

“The downtown real estate interests lobbied long and hard against it and won, but it could bring in tens of millions of dollars to offset the upcoming $600 million bill to stabilize police and fire pension funds, which don’t have enough assets to cover their liabilities,” the source added.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pitch for a City Council ordinance to levy an additional $250 million in property taxes is going to be a tough vote with anticipated artillery pointed at Emanuel by Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Brendan Reilly (42nd).

“The mayor needs to get the tax to solve the city’s fiscal problems off the back of property owners and figure out a mix of non-property tax revenue sources to get this ordinance passed,” the source said.

Stay tuned.

Vroom vroom . . .

Former GOP gubernatorial hopeful state Sen. Kirk Dillard’s name has been thrown into the mix as a possible replacement for outgoing RTA chief John Gates, who is vacating his post in June.

Running with Rauner . . .

Top tip: Sneed hears GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner is heading to California to raise big bucks to keep himself and his Democrat wife, Diana, on the airwaves without having to dip his quill in his own inkwell.

◆ Stats: It ain’t the entertainment industry’s pockets Rauner and his highly qualified fundraiser Pam Kinsey, who raised $$$$ for U.S. Sen. John McCain, are wooing — but big private-equity guys.

The Jeb web . . .

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose name is now being touted big-time in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, was spotted dining at the Ketel One Club at the United Center during the Blackhawks game last Thursday night, chatting it up with Hawks owner Rocky Wirtz and his wife, Marilyn.

A sports short . . .

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, a sports fanatic who was in law school when the Chicago Bears won the 1985 Super Bowl, was stunned when she spotted former Chicago Super Bowl Bear Richard Dent in the audience during her City Club speech at Maggiano’s on Tuesday. They had their picture taken together.

The selfie set . . .

Omygoodness: U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a GOPer who likes country music, was in the midst of a selfie whirl in the standing-room pit near the stage of the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Monday night?

Good grief!

◆ Now comes word actor Matthew McConaughey reportedly wears his “True Detective” character Rust Cohle’s gray Dickies pants around Tinseltown.

◆ Now comes a report that President Barack Obama plans to attend a Dem National Committee fundraiser and a memorial service Wednesday at Fort Hood, Texas, the site of last week’s shooting rampage in which three people were killed.

Sneedlings . . .

Congratulations to Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Page Editor Tom McNamee on winning the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, and congratulations to PR maven Thom Serafin on winning the group’s first annual Filippo Mazzei Award . . . Wednesday’s birthdays: Kristen Stewart, 24; Hugh Hefner, 88, and Cynthia Nixon, 48.



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