CHICAGO (September 22, 2015)–Following is a statement from the Chicago City Council Progressive Caucus in reaction to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s FY 2016 budget address this morning.
“The Progressive Reform Caucus is encouraged that the Emanuel Administration is finally talking about taking steps to right the City’s broken finances and ending poor fiscal practices like ‘scoop and toss’ bonding. But we have grave concerns about the impact on Chicago’s neighborhoods and working families of the Emanuel Administration’s proposed FY 2016 City budget.
“The nearly $600 million property tax increase will have a disproportionate impact on low-income homeowners and seniors. That is why we support the administrations’ efforts to expand the Homestead Exemption in Springfield. But with no end in sight to the gridlock in Springfield, passage of the expanded exemption is not assured. That is why we are offering a meaningful rebate program for working families who own their homes. Our ordinance will be introduced at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
“We are also troubled that the Emanuel Administration has not included a plan to implement an Alternative Minimum Property Tax on the Central Business District. This represents a serious deficiency in the Administration’s property tax plan. Until the building owners in the Central Business District are stopped from gaming the system and are required to pay their fair share, those costs will continue to be passed on to homeowners in the neighborhoods.”
“We are alarmed that the Administration is floating the possibile ‘outsourcing’ of 311 jobs. Again and again, we’ve seen that privatization leads to reduced quality services and lower wages. The 311 operators are city residents. They live and spend money in Chicago communities. We must learn from past privatization mistakes and reject this plan.
“While we were encouraged that the Emanuel Administration proposed increasing taxes on rideshare companies, the Progressive Caucus strongly opposes the proposal to open the airports and McCormick Place to rideshares. This will inflict real harm on the thousands of Chicagoans who drive cabs, creating negative ripple effects in local economies all over the city.
“The Mayor’s speech today was the beginning of the process. We look forward to working alongside the Mayor, his team, and our colleagues in City Council to ensure that the FY 2016 budget asks the very wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share, rather than creating undue burden on working families and seniors.”
Progressive Caucus members include Ald. Leslie Hairston (5); Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6); Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10); Ald. Toni Foulkes (16); Ald. David Moore (17); Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29); Ald. Scott Waguespack (32); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35); Ald. Nick Sposato (38); Ald. John Arena (45).