Aldermen and Cook County commissioners stared down their second week of budget hearings, while still handling regular business this week–but the two biggest issues on lawmakers’ minds couldn’t have been further apart in substance.
For aldermen, it was disagreement over a long-standing perk–face value tickets offered by the Chicago Cubs, who are making a historic play for the World Series, but who also come to aldermen regularly asking for zoning variations and permits. An Ethics Board ruling rubbed many aldermen the wrong way, and the Cubs (and White Sox) had more than one mention in committee.
For commissioners, it was raising the minimum wage for the 200,000 suburban workers who make $8.25 per hour–far less than city workers, who make $10.25. Business groups cried foul, saying they’re already burdened by a slew of recent mandates. Republican commissioners called the move illegal, saying only the state had power to raise wages. Workers said wages don’t come close to covering the cost of living, and that a hike was long overdue.