Aldermen Not Warming up to Proposed School Property Tax Hike
(Chicago Tribune) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration tried Monday to convince aldermen to swallow a $150 million property tax increase for the Chicago Public Schools, but it was a tough sell. Emanuel has promised to erase a $635.7 million city budget shortfall without raising taxes, arguing that he cannot, in good conscience, ask taxpayers to put more money “into a system that hasn’t been reformed.” On Monday, some aldermen made the same argument about the Chicago Public Schools after attending a series of 45-minute briefings on the record property tax increase at City Hall. The hike would add $84 to an average home worth $250,000. It marks the first time in four years that CPS is seeking to raise taxes for schools to the maximum allowed by law. The hike apparently is aggravated by a nearly five-fold increase in a Public Building Commission levy that CPS controls that will pull in $53 million, up from $11 million previously, to help CPS pay the debt service on school construction bonds.