Buildings sit vacant on the West Side of Chicago on March 24, 2017.
Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. Subscribe here.
Owners of vacant Chicago properties would pay more to the city each year their parcels go unused, under a proposal made Wednesday by a Southwest Side alderman.
Currently, the city requires that owners register vacant properties at a cost of $250 a year. But the plan from Ald. George Cardenas would double that fee to $500 for the second year, $1,000 for the third and $2,000 for the fourth and fifth. Then it would jump to $3,500 for years six through 10. In year 11, the fees would jump to $5,000, plus $500 for each additional year.
Cardenas, 12th, said the changes would create a disincentive for allowing properties to stay empty for long periods of time.
Fees for mortgage lenders that hold title to properties that are abandoned also would escalate in a similar fashion. The fees they would end up paying after 10 years would hit $6,000, plus $500 for each additional year.
“There’s too much leeway given to building owners,” Cardenas said. “We need to get these buildings rehabbed and back in working condition so people can live in them.
“We have attempted to decrease the number of abandoned buildings, and the only way to do that is by pushing these owners,” added Cardenas, who said he’s also worried about vacant commercial properties. “Those people that just want to buy property and hang onto it, we’re against that.” (Hal Dardick)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to announce that Riverside Investment & Development Co. will lead a major redevelopment project at Union Station. Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman, who also is scheduled to speak at a City Club of Chicago breakfast.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no public events scheduled. He is making a 7:25 a.m. appearance on "The Steve Cochran Show" on WGN-AM 720.
What we’re writing
*Republicans go on the attack after Democrats’ tax vote.
*Emanuel doesn’t get behind controversial Northwest Side apartment complex.
*Developers could be hit with big fees if housing near The 606 isn’t affordable.
*New gun range rules approved by City Council.
*African-American aldermen praise, remind Emanuel on black hiring issue.
*Plan to crack down on repeat gun offenders still changing.
*Chicago in epicenter of charter school teacher contract disputes.
*Chicago school board OKs borrowing after district makes clear it could run out of money.
*Illinois Democrats condemn Republican health care plan again after new estimates emerge.
*Hastert lawyer seeks settlement with sex abuse victim in $3.5M hush-money lawsuit.
*Metra Electric would boost service at Hyde Park stops under proposal.
*Shooting suspect in Cook County judge’s slaying indicted on 27 counts.
*Chicago school board approves new science requirements for high school graduation.
What we’re reading
*Family of Naperville teen who committed suicide sues school, police.
*What passenger-dragging incident? United gets no queries at annual meeting.
*Chicago Botanic Garden waits, watches for dual blooming of flowers that smell like rotting meat.
Follow the money
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
*CBO report says 23 million uninsured people under the GOP health care bill.
*Trump meets the pope.
*Secret Service asks for $25 million to protect Trump Tower.
*Egyptian opposition leader freed.