The City Council has decided to do nothing for now about the controversial Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund and its revenue source--some $3 million in taxes on food and beverages sold in the city.
The city gives this money to charitable organizations, groups that do things like put on festivals or put up art works around town.
This concept of benevolent generosity is not unique to Naperville. In happier times, the city of Joliet used to give a share of its revenues from casino gambling to schools and nonprofit organizations.
Not any more. Casino revenues are way down, thanks to the indoor smoking ban and the overall sluggish economy. This year, Joliet pulled the plug on handouts.
In theory, the $3 million that Naperville gives away to do-good organizations is $3 million more that you, your neighbor and the guy down the street and the gal across town have to pay out of your own pockets to fund those essential services like police and fire protection.
Now, Naperville's a generous town, and time and time again the community responds when the call goes out for help. The thing is, it's one thing to voluntarily open your hearts and wallets and lend a hand. It's another when the city taxes you and forces you to give money to charity.
What say you? Is it time to abolish the Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund, and return those food and beverage tax revenues into the general fund to offset the budget deficit and reduce the number of layoffs of public safety and other personnel?