Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The University of Parking Meters

has its first graduate.

From the Chicago Tribune (via Whet Moser)

ComEd offers $500 million to state in return for profit guarantee

Posted by Rick Pearson, Monique Garcia, Ray Long and Julie Wernau at 6:00 p.m.; last updated at 8:12 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD --- ComEd is offering cash-strapped state government leaders $500 million upfront in exchange for a profit guarantee in future years centered around electrical rates.

State lawmakers greeted the idea with skepticism today amid concerns the utility was trying to take advantage of the state’s growing budget deficit to lock in profits when the future cost of electricity to consumers is expected to decline.
The proposal is a last-minute addition to a legislature looking for an easy way for free money to help avoid deep cuts to a variety of social services. Yet lawmakers, who have ruled out a politically unpalatable election-year income-tax hike, said they saw little difference in voting for an electrical rate increase for Chicago-area customers when rates should decrease because of the economy.

Edison and its parent company, Exelon, offered the plan to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office, are offering $500 million to the state and a promise to commit $1 billion over 10 years to develop a more efficient “smart grid” for electrical transmission and other projects that would create 2,000 “green” jobs lasting between 2 and 10 years. A number of sources had earlier said Edison offer reached up to $1 billion, but other sources said later that they were confused by the company's offer to also invest $1 billion in infrastructure in exchange for the $500 million to the state.

In documents obtained by the Tribune, Edison called the plan a “public-private partnership” that would help ease “the brunt of the recession” on Illinois residents facing “the state’s low level of economic development, high unemployment and difficult budgetary challenges.” But the proposal also would largely render the work of the state’s utility-rate setting Illinois Commerce Commission moot by guaranteeing the firm a rate of return.

State Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, echoed many of his colleagues by saying the proposal “raises a lot of red flags.”

“I think whenever the state finds itself in a situation where a private interest can put a price tag on favorable treatment, it’s a bad way to conduct business,” Fritchey said.

Officials in Quinn’s budget office said the proposal was presented to them by the utility but added the governor hadn’t seen it.

“We’ll review anything that comes our way,” said budget office spokeswoman Kelly Kraft. “It’s so new, I can’t even say whether it’s being embraced or not being embraced.”

The executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, David Kolata, said the trade off is bad for consumers.
I appreciate the fact that lawmakers seem to be bright enough to smell the reek coming off of this deal, but given the deadly embrace of cowardice and denial that the public and the government are locked into -- a public that fucking well knows that the Crash Is Here, but will not elect people who tell them the whole, ugly truth (beating up unions won't save us and just raising taxes won't save us)...creating a political class that knows they are absolutely required to lie to large numbers of fuckwits about nonexistent or Ponzi-based

Chicago Water For Sale?
Newstip Date: 10-20-2009

With Chicago facing a half-billion-dollar shortfall – and Mayor Daley ruling out increases in taxes, fees, and fines – could the city which has pioneered the leasing of major public assets be looking into a long-term lease of its water system?

“The City of Chicago Department of Water Management is said to be considering a lease of its water and wastewater system,” reported the Public Works Financing newsletter in April.


Daley's new budget will drain meter sale reserves

December 3, 2009

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter/fspielman@suntimes.com

Chicago’s 75-year, $1.15 billion parking meter windfall would be nearly drained in just one year to provide token property tax relief and stave off tax increases, thanks to a $6.1 billion 2010 budget approved Wednesday.

Despite complaints that Chicago’s future was being mortgaged, the City Council voted 38-to-12 to approve Mayor Daley’s plan to drain reserves generated by asset sales to solve the city’s worst budget crisis in modern history.

solutions in order to keep their jobs -- it is inevitable that, sooner or later, like the junkie who has already hocked the teevee and the family silver to feed the spike but who solemnly promises he'll never, ever pawn mom's prosthetic limb for dough...

...the Springpatch Tweaker Brigade will eventually end up, shivering and puking in the vestibule of the local cash shack with mom's robot leg in hand, negotiating out of panic while slapping invisible budget cut beetles out of their hair.

All of which leads me to believe that maybe a Governor Pawnbroker is not the worst idea in the world.

Proud member of The Windy Citizen

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