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Mayor Daley's final budget passes

The Chicago City Council Wednesday signed off on Mayor Richard Daley's final city budget. The plan does not raise property taxes, but it does empty some of the city's reserves.

Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward was one of just seven aldermen to vote against Mayor Daley's spending plan. He criticized its reliance on money from the billion dollar parking meter lease fund.

"Only 6.6 percent will remain, and there still are 73 years left on the lease," Fioretti said.

"Again this year, we came up with a few more rabbits to pull out of a hat," said 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore.

Moore and a handful of other aldermen voted "no" on parts of the mayor's budget, but then "yes" on other parts. That led to a mocking reaction from Daley.

"Uh oh, Joe! You can't. Please," Daley said. The mayor then turned to the crowd of reporters in the room, who often quote Moore disagreeing with the mayor.

"You can't interview him anymore. What's going to happen?" Daley asked with a laugh.

Ald. Carrie Austin of the 34th Ward, the budget committee chair, says the parking meter funds were needed to prevent steep service cuts and tax increases. Austin ridiculed those who spoke against the budget.

"[If] you got suggestions, if you've got alternatives, if you've got revenue suggestions, bring them forth," she challenged.

At a press conference after the vote, Daley dismissed criticism that his budget just kicks the city's financial problems down the road.

"No, I don't kick the can. I never kick the can in my life," the mayor said.

Daley, who is not seeking re-election in next year's city elections, insists Chicago is in better financial shape than when he took office in 1989.

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