Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2016 budget is expected to include a hike in property taxes to help eliminate billions of dollars of debt. Residents also may face more taxes and fees on garbage collection, sugary drinks and other services.
“We need to include protections for the working families of the city of Chicago,” Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 39th Ward, said.
The council’s progressive caucus would send low-income homeowners rebate checks for most of the increase if approved. Every other home and commercial property owner would have to pay an even larger share.
“We must ask this city’s very wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share,” Alderman Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward, said.
The mayor, who will present the budget Tuesday, said the property tax increase with a state-approved exemption for lesser valued properties is needed to pay the unfunded police and firefighter pension debt. The progressives, a minority on the council, would prefer a tax on financial transactions instead of the residential real estate.
“I’m not selling the mayor’s tax increase to anybody. That’s on him,” Chicago Alderman Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward, said.
Mayor Emanuel did not talk about the budget on Monday, although his office issued a statement that it would outline “a new course for Chicago… All the while holding those residents who can least afford to shoulder the burden harmless.”
“You must tax the wealthy. You must properly fund public education,” Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union, said. Sharkey also repeated the CTU’s threat to strike this winter if massive layoffs happen because of a separate $500 million deficit facing Chicago Public Schools.
“I find it mindboggling. I that it’s ignoring the most dire crisis we face now in the city,” Sharkey said.
The mayor will also propose new fees for city garbage pickup and ride-sharing services, as well as a new tax on e-cigarettes.
The budget must be approved by a majority of the 50 member Chicago City Council.