Chicago Working Families Are Being Asked to Pay More For Less While Banks Continue to Profit Off Public Dole
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—October 21, 2015. This week the Chicago City Council moved forward on a massive property tax increase on residents to fix a budget that has been wrecked by Wall Street handouts and debt payments on predatory bank deals.
The proposed FY2016 budget places the greatest burden on those least able to pay, which has become a hallmark of Emanuel administration budgets. Neighborhood residents are being hit with an additional garbage collection fee, a property tax increase with zero provisions to protect low income renters, and a slew of other taxes and fees on services used by everyday Chicagoans. These increased financial burdens are being compounded by more planned privatization. Although it now appears that 311 service will not be privatized, the fate of the two HIV clinics slated for privatization is still unclear. For neighborhood residents, as seen in other privatization schemes, this will translate into less service and a loss of good jobs.
Meanwhile, Wall Street banks like JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America continue to drain the city of millions from predatory interest rate swap deals, with payments totaling more than $581 million as of June. Mayor Emanuel, instead of suing to get back taxpayer money as other cities have done, gave the banks even more money in termination fees. This cozy treatment of predatory banks has resulted in ballooning debt payments for the city. Chicago’s debt service payments in FY2016 are estimated at almost 1/5th of all appropriations, totaling nearly $1.9 billion- almost twice as much as those pension payments that are getting so much attention from the Mayor and the media.
“Chicago’s current fiscal problems boil down to the fact that Mayor Emanuel refuses to pass equitable structural reforms, that force Wall Street and LaSalle Street to pay their fair share,” stated Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative, following the Chicago City Council meeting. “We need greater budget leadership out of the City Council. There are numerous solutions to this financial mess that don’t involve squeezing more money out of the neighborhoods and families least able to pay – we need to sue the banks, end the clout deals that allow downtown corporations to cheat the city out of millions in taxes, and a property tax increase with protections for working families.”