Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aldermen not warming up to proposed school property tax hike - Chicago Sun-Times

Aldermen not warming up to proposed school property tax hike - Chicago Sun-Times

It's good that they're asking questions about this tax hikes and wanting to see some reforms of the system:
“They have not shown clear and convincing evidence that they deserve a property tax increase because of all the waste and inefficiency still in the system,” said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd).

Fioretti predicted “resistance all over the city.”

“We have such a fragile housing market. Raising taxes will only add to the foreclosure problem and send more of the middle class elsewhere. People have already been leaving the city because they don’t feel the central office has provided the kinds of programs necessary. I’m not convinced they’ve cut the right stuff or that they’ve cut enough.”

Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), chairman of the City Council’s Education Committee, flatly declared, “I don’t agree with any property tax increase, especially when our residents are having such a hard time.”

Over the years, Chicago aldermen have raised periodic objections to school property tax increases before following through on their statutory obligation to approve the Board of Education’s annual levy.

Legally, they have no choice. Politically, it’s another story. In order to build public support for the massive increase, Emanuel must enlist support from the City Council.

“We have nothing to do with this. This is the Board of Education’s decision and the administration’s decision,” Thomas said.

“Any tax increase is supposed to be a last resort, and they’ve got to revaluate whether this truly is a last resort. But, most of my colleagues — we don’t like it. Why are we still relying on real estate taxes to pay for education? We should be relying on the income tax. It’s more equitable across the board.”

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