The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago:
Taxing the Poor to Have More for the Rich

Sep 14, 2015

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed to increase property taxes by about 500 million dollars in his new budget. This would mean an extra $500 a year for someone who owns or rents an average apartment. He also wants to add a garbage collection fee. All this on top of the increases he’s already imposed this year in taxes for 911 services, cable TV, and for renting movies or services like Netflix.

Working class people all over Illinois already pay more of their income in taxes than the rich. On average, the richest one percent pay less than 5 percent of their income in city and state taxes. Workers making between $19,000 and $38,000 a year pay almost 12 percent!

And while the city government wants workers to pay more taxes, they are cutting money for schools and services in working class neighborhoods, attacking the teachers and other city workers, and going after the pensions.

They say there’s no money. But they can find plenty of money for big business.

Over the last few decades, wealthy businesses have paid less and less to the city and state. The CME Group gets 77 million dollars a year in tax breaks. MillerCoors got 24 million to move to Chicago. Boeing, United Airlines, the big hotels, big developers, and big office buildings get property tax “refunds,” or tax “abatements,” or find ways to reduce the taxed value of their buildings – all with the help of the politicians.

And these corporations also suck more and more out of the city and public school budgets. They do this through privatized contracts, like the privatized parking meters or the Aramark deal to take over school cafeterias. Or they do it through crooked banking deals, like the toxic swaps that cost the city tens of millions, or the 2009 Sales Tax Bond for which the city paid the banks 300% interest.

There could be money for decent services and decent schools, AND lower taxes on workers, not higher – if we can find a way to make the corporations and rich pay, instead of giving them free gifts.