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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2013
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Budget Address Continues Status Quo Instead of Addressing Growing Inequality
In this morning's budget address, Mayor Emanuel chose to continue the status quo policies that pile fees and fines upon the backs' of working and middle class families. Instead of making the truly "tough choices" to force banks and corporations to pay their fair share, the proposed 2014 budget places the burden squarely on Chicago residents, once again. Every year, the City of Chicago pays $76 million a year to Wall Street banks to borrow money. This money was taken from the open wallets of taxpayers in 2008, when we bailed the banks out for crashing our economy. The City should protect taxpayers and re-negotiate these toxic deals.
Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are diverted away from schools, parks, and libraries through Tax Increment Financing dollars. The majority of TIF funds are spent on downtown development, funneled to selective enrollment schools, and given to large corporations who don't need the handout. The TIF Surplus Ordinance must be codified into law – administrative orders that amount to drops in the bucket are not enough.
The education and health investments laid out by Mayor Emanuel are positive, but are greatly outweighed by the closing of 50 schools, the massive budget cuts to schools across the city, and the closing of 50% of the city's public mental health clinics. One step forward with five steps back is not progress for Chicago families. Maintaining strong public services is key for Chicago prosperity. The Privatization Transparency Accountability Ordinance puts in the protections that Chicago needs. Grassroots Collaborative supports strategies that keep dollars in the pockets of Chicago working families. We need good jobs in our neighborhoods, not job transfers that leave Black and Latino workers behind. Mayor Emanuel can continue to talk about downtown jobs, but Grassroots Collaborative's study released earlier this month, ‘Downtown Prosperity, Neighborhood Neglect,’ shows that this is not a winning strategy for the majority of Chicagoans. “Chicago needs bold leadership willing to make the tough choices - where the corporate elite and Wall Street banks pay their fair share, and where ordinances that put the needs of the people over the greed of private interests get debated, not buried,” said Grassroots Collaborative executive director Amisha Patel. “We need strategies that invest in our neighborhoods, not further inequity. Change is what Chicago needs, but unfortunately, Mayor Emanuel has only the status quo to offer our working families. “
Grassroots Collaborative is Action Now, American Friends Service Committee - GreatLakes Region, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Service Employees International Union Local 73, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, UNITE HERE Local 1