Chicago aims to crack down on City Hall debtors

February 15, 2012

Michell Eloy

Chicago City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on an ordinance that would automatically deduct outstanding debts from Illinoisans' state income tax returns.

The city estimates nearly 100,000 state residents and businesses have unpaid city parking tickets, red light camera citations and administrative hearing fees, among other fines. It says passing the ordinance could bring in between $8 and $20 million or the cash-strapped city.

Mayor Rahm Emanel supported the plan on Tuesday at an urelated press conference.

"I'm actually leveling the playing field so it doesn't tilt in favor those who cheat and cheat other taxpayers," said Emanuel.

The mayor's office said the proposed measure would only apply to scofflaws who'd been repeatedly warned about outstanding fines.

The Illinois General Assembly recently passed a law that allows cities to enact this kind of ordinance to recover money.