Chicago aldermen OK tax garnishment plan

February 15, 2012

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Illinois residents who owe money to the city of Chicago may see a chunk missing from their state income tax refund this year. The city council approved the garnishment plan in a 41 to 8 vote on Wednesday.

The ordinance lets city hall sign an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Comptroller's Office, which sends out income tax refund checks. If a taxpayer owes the city for an overdue fine, the state will divert refund money to Chicago, minus a service fee.

Alderman Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward voted against the ordinance because he calls the process for residents to appeal a city fine "a kangaroo court."

"If it wasn't for that, and if we could tighten it up going forward, I'm all in favor of this. Because, I agree, we need...the money that's owed to the city," Fioretti said before the vote.

In response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel challenged Fioretti to work on spearhead an effort to reform ticket appeals. But Emanuel said that should not stall efforts to collect debts.

"We will not be in favor of deadbeats and delinquents who have been sitting on the sidelines putting the burden on the families in your district and throughout the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

The city expects this move to collect between $8 million and $20 million.

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