Once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s real tough to get her back in there…

CHICAGO (AP) — Seven vinyl banners draped this month along one of Chicago’s most iconic bridges, advertisements some have dubbed “a visual crime” and “commercial graffiti,” are reviving a debate about how governments raise money in tough economic times.

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, a public school district in Colorado is selling ads on report cards and Utah has a new law allowing ads on school buses. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, straining to fill a $600 million budget hole, is looking to raise $25 million from ads on city property — including bridges, electrical storage boxes and garbage cans.

If municipalities can begin to generate a revenue stream from advertising on public facilities, do you think they will ever stop? Unlikely.