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Chicago Voters Say No To Taxi Fare Hike

Taxi

(Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago cabbies were not surprised to see most voters say no Tuesday when they were asked whether cab fares should go up.

According to unofficial preliminary results, with 98 percent of the vote counted, more than 61 percent of voters said no when asked on Tuesday’s ballot, “Should the City of Chicago increase taxi rates, which would be the first increase in eight years and bring Chicago’s taxi fleet in line with other cities?”

The question did not specify how much to raise the rate for taxi cabs in Chicago. Aldermen put the question on the ballot only as an advisory measure, so a yes vote would not have meant a fare hike.

George Kasp, who has been driving a cab in Chicago for 41 years, said he knows how things work at City Hall, so he knew voters would say no.

“They loaded up this referendum. As I understand, there’s only three issues that could go on a referendum, and this got top billing. This is such B.S.,” he said. “These politicians are so damn wily.”

The other two issues facing Chicago voters on referenda were gun issues: should the state ban high-capacity ammunition clips be banned, and should the state ban concealed firearms in any establishment with a liquor license.

The City Council already has approved a ban on high-capacity clips, and the state law governing concealed carry bans guns concealed firearms at bars, but allows them at restaurants with liquor licenses.

The Emanuel administration loaded the city ballot with those three questions, allowing the mayor to avoid supporters of an elected school board the chance to ask voters’ opinion. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has opposed having an elected school board, claiming school board decisions would be politicized.

His allies also have said simply asking voters if the school board should be elected is too vague, since the question doesn’t specify how many members would be on the board, whether they would be paid, how long their terms would be, or if they would get a staff.

As advisory measures, the referenda carried little political weight, especially with such low turnout. Only about 16 percent of registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday.