IJ Clinic's Milnikel on Chicago's Regulation of Small Business

Chicago, city that works?
Elizabeth Milnikel
Chicago Tribune
July 17, 2009

If you thought the city's handling of parking was abominable, wait until you hear how it regulates small businesses.

We all know by now that the city sold off the parking meters rather haplessly. There wasn't enough effort to ensure that the citizens got the greatest possible benefit from privatization. The mayor's plan went through without push back -- or comprehension -- from the City Council. Meters multiplied, restricted hours lengthened, rates skyrocketed and Sunday is no longer a day of rest. Coupled with the city's ravenous appetite for the revenue from parking tickets, the situation is at least irritating, if not entirely infuriating.

The privatization of parking meters is costing us all a lot of quarters and some freedom of mobility. But when incompetence, favoritism and negligence in city government determines who can start a business, entrepreneurs lose their very livelihoods and their freedom to choose an occupation. Neighborhoods lose the mom-and-pop shops that give them character and variety and low prices. And Chicago loses its ability to foster new jobs and economic growth.

Elizabeth Kregor