This year, Chicagoans elected the most progressive city council in our history. From every corner of this city– Englewood to Rogers Park, Pilsen to Irving Park, Chicagoans invested in a new wave of elected leaders on platforms that promote social and economic justice for everyone, from traditionally disadvantaged populations to the middle-class.
As a caucus, we view the budget as a moral document that demonstrates our cities’ values. As we head into the budget season we will expect the values of equity, fairness, and opportunity for all our residents, regardless of background or zip code are found in every decision made.
For our city to thrive, our people must prosper. This means we will prioritize investment in affordable housing and homelessness, increase support for social workers in our schools, and access to mental health resources. And we must raise the minimum wage to $15, which will provide needed relief to working families and spur economic growth from the bottom up. These are responsible investments and initiatives that will payoff for generations to come.
The Progressive Caucus understands that we have a structural budget gap in FY 2020. Furthermore, this is not the only year our budget will start in the red. We have identified both resources immediately available to us in addition to revenue items that we’ll be fighting for in the coming year. All our recommended revenue sources ask everyone to pay their fair share, including the very wealthy and corporations, so that the burden of higher taxes does not disproportionately impact working families and homeowners.
Our caucus is supporting socially responsible sources of revenue by:
- Supporting declaring a Tax Increment Financing surplus and reforming the TIF system to ensure that needed funds are not siphoned away from education and city services;
- Working with legislators in Springfield to implement Sales Tax Modernization and help generate hundreds of millions of dollars through a modest tax of services like, accounting, tax prep, bookkeeping services, and portfolio management;
- Advocating to reinstate the corporate head tax;
- Encouraging the City to embark on a concerted campaign to negotiate with large tax-exempt institutions to forge more voluntary Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements;
- Asking the city to study a congestion tax and rideshare regulations and fees.