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Emanuel Insists Taxpayers Won’t Pay For NATO Summit

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reassuring Chicago taxpayers that they won’t be stuck with the bill for all the activity, security and disruptions that will occur around the NATO Summit the weekend of May 19.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Emanuel said Chicago Police will indeed be out in force, and some Chicago Transit Authority routes will be adjusted because of expected protest demonstrations.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

There will also be cultural, community and culinary activities for the international delegations for the delegates in attendance.

But Mayor Emanuel says Chicagoans will not be footing the bill directly for the summit.

“First of all, taxpayers will not pay anything for the summit, and that’s why we raised private money and I secured federal money – so that’s number one,” Emanuel said. “And yes, I do feel like we’re going to be able to meet our budget.”

Meanwhile, the mayor is among those stressing that all those visiting from abroad, including the foreign news media, will mean an economic boost for local business.

But one regular and often jaundiced observer of municipal extravaganzas questions estimates of the blessings the mayor and others say the summit will shower.

University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson says the actual economic benefits often turn out to be about 10 percent of what the boosters predict.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

“Look, anytime an organization conducts an economic impact study, there is a weak link quality to it; you’re going to produce a report that’s very favorable to whatever activity you want to do,” Sanderson said.

In this case, Sanderson says NATO would bring at the most a $25 million economic benefit, and far less than that if things get out of hand.