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Statement on the Mayor’s Budget Address

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented his 2018 budget that continues to deceive the public and the City Council about revenue this city is collecting through TIFs. Mayor Emanuel’s budget demonstrates his misplaced priorities. He has prioritized every city expense over funding for Chicago Public Schools. The mayor must use TIFs to fund our schools.

Under Mayor Emmanuel, schools are struggling to provide the most basic services. The mayor has cut school budgets, special education services, social workers, trauma programs, nurses, and is now proposing another devastating round of school closures in Black and Brown communities. Our schools have suffered over $500 million in budget cuts in the past two years, and yet the mayor’s budget calls for more funding for police.

While the mayor raises fees on everything from cell phones to ride sharing, his budget continues hundreds of millions of dollars in giveaways and tax breaks for corporations. One issue the mayor chooses to ignore is the out-of-control TIF surplus. This is a result from the immense property tax increases by both state and local governments over the past two years. Over 40% of all taxable land in Chicago now resides in a TIF. When our property taxes go up, TIF revenues soar. As a result, the mayor will control over $500 million in TIF surplus in 2018!

Chicago taxpayers, parents and teachers have had enough. It is time for the big lie to end. The city is not broke. If there’s money to lure Amazon and provide tax breaks to developers, there’s money to fully fund our schools. Unfortunately, the mayor’s allies have been stalling two CPS funding bills in committees since last year. The #FreeTheFunds coalition supports t