WBEZ | budget http://www.wbez.org/tags/budget Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mayor wraps up public budget hearings http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-04/mayor-wraps-public-budget-hearings-112838 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/emanuel hearing.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a challenging week for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Two of his public budget hearings were derailed by hunger strikers pushing to re-open Dyett high school in Washington Park. And the mayor ruffled the feathers of many Chicagoans, especially homeowners, with new money-saving proposals. The biggest, a $500 million property tax hike, would be the highest in modern Chicago history. Emanuel says the property tax hike and other tax increases and fees he&rsquo;s proposing are necessary to keep Chicago afloat. Here to talk about the mayoral week that was and where we go from here is WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian.</p></p> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-04/mayor-wraps-public-budget-hearings-112838 Progressive alderman blasts Emanuel property tax increase http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-09-03/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase <p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving an early peek at his 2016 budget and it includes a hefty property tax hike - and other measures to raise revenue - mostly in the name of paying down the city&rsquo;s mounting pension debts. The City Council&rsquo;s Progressive Caucus put out a statement today blasting the mayor&#39;s 2016 budget plan, for squeezing Chicago&rsquo;s working class families. Alderman John Arena, a long-standing member of the Progressive Caucus joins Melba Lara to talk about this budget.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>(TRANSCRIPT)</p><div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, a property tax increase is not really a surprise for anyone who was paying attention during the race for mayor, but the scope of this seems unprecedented.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It absolutely is and it&rsquo;s startling because the mayor was critical of his opposition about past property tax increases, so to take this step without looking at a broader picture on how we solve the budget crisis, and using the tax increase as a last and least effect on closing the gap seems just too quick.</div><div id="fb-root"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/JohnArenaChicago/posts/990222041041471" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/caucus%20fb%20post.PNG" style="height: 560px; width: 540px;" title="A screenshot of 45th Ward Alderman, John Arena's official Facebook page is captured. The picture shows a post from the Arena, calling the public to action. (WBEZ)" /></a></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Progressive Caucus has been saying today that the tax increase will disproportionately hurt working class families. What do you propose then to ease the burden on them?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well,&nbsp;we introduced some ideas to the mayor - a pretty wide-ranging mix of ideas. Some of them were as simple as imposing higher billboard fees. The billboard companies make huge profits on the advertising, and some of their fees are as low as $50-$200 and&nbsp;they&#39;re popping up all over the place. Those are the folks we should be going to first, instead of a pensioner who&rsquo;s going to see a reduction in benefits...as these challenges to the pension system go on; who have seen higher healthcare costs be imposed on them by the city and by the state; and then are going to be doubly hit because they&rsquo;re going to see a massive property tax increase. We&rsquo;re going to be forcing these folks into very difficult positions. Folks making less than $50,000 a year are going to be struggling to make ends meet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And Alderman Arena we&rsquo;re hearing a lot about of course the big property tax increase proposed, we&rsquo;ve heard about some fees going up...what about cuts?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, that&rsquo;s&nbsp;a difficult&hellip;&nbsp;we&rsquo;ve been going through the budget and I know the mayor has done this and I will give him credit for finding ways to do that. But, what we see is it&rsquo;s becoming harder and harder to provide services in a timely manner. We look at things and keep saying &lsquo;oh we just have to keep cutting personnel&rsquo;, but at some point we get to the point where we&rsquo;re hitting bone - and I think we&rsquo;re pretty much there. This again has to be... a more nuanced approach than just a heavy hand of a straight property tax increase.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, I did want to play this piece of tape from Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has said that these increases will be painful, but it will finally give the city a permanent fix for the nagging financial problems.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div><em>MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (TAPE)</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>&ldquo;And by the time we&rsquo;re done, in the four years the structural deficit we inherited in 2011 will be eliminated. All the gimmicks and shenanigans that were built up in the system to mask what the real cost of our government was from&nbsp;&lsquo;scoop-and-toss&rsquo;,&nbsp;to raiding the rainy day fund, to borrowing from the future to pay for the present, to using one-time revenue sources - all those gimmicks will be out of the system, and we will have finally righted our financial ship.&rdquo;</em></div></blockquote><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That&rsquo;s Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Alderman Arena, will this be a permanent fix?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, whether it&rsquo;s a permanent fix still has to be determined. The idea of moving away from &lsquo;scoop-and-toss&rsquo; and policies that he continued from the previous administration without really having a plan for how&nbsp;we&#39;re&nbsp;going to recover those lost dollars except for going to a property tax increase, I call that bad planning.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I know that some groups have suggested the city tap TIF [Tax Increment Financing] money. Is that an option that can be explored?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well,&nbsp;the mayor is codifying that we surplus 25%. I have...and my colleagues have called for a higher percent of TIF &#39;surplusing&#39;&nbsp;each year from the very beginning when I came into office; same time as the mayor. You know, I think 25% is meagerly, I think there&rsquo;s more money sitting there unused, we can move that up to 50% or 75% relatively quickly and help bring more money into the system. And again, we have to do this in an additive way. Find every single place that we can go to take money that&rsquo;s sitting idle and move it into our operating budget so that we make sure we have a property tax increase that&rsquo;s manageable and doesn&rsquo;t shut down our local neighborhood economies, because that&rsquo;s the biggest challenge I see here in the 45th Ward where we&rsquo;re starting to see some gains and new businesses opening, but if the seniors, if the local families here don&rsquo;t have discretionary money to get an ice cream cone, to get a meal out in the new businesses, we&rsquo;re going to start seeing closures again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>upset Do you think you&rsquo;re going to be triggering an exodus from the City of Chicago?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, I think Chicago is resilient and I think people have&nbsp;commitment&nbsp;to the city. We hear that a lot whenever we impose any kind of tax. I think Chicago is very diverse, I think it has a great economy. We have to be careful how we move that economy. Yeah, it&rsquo;s going to force some people to make hard choices. I think we&rsquo;re going to weather through this, and I think with the work the caucus is doing in bringing ideas to the table that are more equitable than just this sort of straight line tax, I think we can figure out a way by the time we get to a budget that we see as a final budget that gets voted on that it&lsquo;s not just this straight line tax.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, you have proposed in the past a city income tax. Do you think that&rsquo;s workable?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Yeah, we got some numbers back from the budget office when we presented this to them, and by their numbers, if you exempted the first 50,000 of income of all employees, a half a percent on income would bring in $190 million. And what&rsquo;s key about that is one, it protects the lower income brackets from exposure to this, and secondly, it&rsquo;s going to impose a tax on those&nbsp;commuters&nbsp;that come into the city, earn their salaries here, use our infrastructure and go back home. So it&rsquo;s a more diverse tax, it loops in a wider net if you will, and it protects that lower income bracket which is very important to the Progressive Caucus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>Alderman John Arena of the Chicago City Council, thanks for talking with us today.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&mdash; <em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase" target="_blank">All Things Considered</a></em></p></p> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-09-03/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase Mayor Emanuel to ask for mega property tax hike http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-03/mayor-emanuel-ask-mega-property-tax-hike-112822 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm WBEZ Robert Wildeboer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been in front of residents this week asking for ideas on how to balance the city budget. But the Mayor and his budget team may already be making some moves to bring in more cash. Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times are reporting this morning that the Mayor is considering the largest property tax hike in decades to bring money to the seriously underfunded fire and police pensions. There could be a garbage tax collection fee as well. Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Hal Dardick <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-property-tax-hike-met-0903-20150902-story.html">has details</a> on how these budget decisions would shake out for residents.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-03/mayor-emanuel-ask-mega-property-tax-hike-112822 Political wills battle contributes to budget impasse in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/political-wills-battle-contributes-budget-impasse-illinois-112800 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_963329869976.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois is entering its fourth month without a budget. While there&#39;s a fight over ideology, it has also become a battle of wills &mdash; pitting the Republican governor against the state House speaker.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><p>&mdash;&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/02/436820852/battle-of-political-wills-contributes-to-budget-impasse-in-illinois" target="_blank">NPR News</a></em></p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 09:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/political-wills-battle-contributes-budget-impasse-illinois-112800 Dyett hunger strike took center stage at the first city budget hearing http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-01/dyett-hunger-strike-took-center-stage-first-city-budget-hearing <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lauren chooljian.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel will meet with Chicagoans three times this week to hear the public&rsquo;s ideas for the spending plan he&rsquo;s set to unveil later this month. The first one &mdash; which was the first public budget hearing the mayor&rsquo;s held in four years &mdash; took place last night at Malcolm X College.</p><p>But the budget took a back seat to the ongoing hunger strike over the re-opening of Dyett High School in Washington Park, which is now in its 16th day. The mayor was met with chanting and yelling, even after many attempts to keep things moving and on topic. WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian joins us to talk more about what went on, and what we can expect from the next two hearings.</p></p> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-01/dyett-hunger-strike-took-center-stage-first-city-budget-hearing CPS principal says budget cuts, testing schedule hurt students http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-principal-says-budget-cuts-testing-schedule-hurt-students-112783 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/blaine principal Troy LaRaviere_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>As&nbsp;</em><em>Chicago Public Schools&#39; teachers and administrators spend the week preparing for the start of the new school year, WBEZ&#39;s Melba Lara asked Troy LaRaviere to describe what the transition in CPS leadership and budget shortfalls look like from his vantage point as a principal.&nbsp;</em><em>LaRaviere is principal of Blaine Elementary School in Chicago&rsquo;s Lakeview neighborhood. </em></p><p><em>LaRaviere has</em><em>&nbsp;been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principal-rips-cps-school-budgets-emanuel-108108" target="_blank">vocal</a> with his concerns about CPS budget cuts and was</em><em>&nbsp;issued a &quot;warning resolution&quot; at a recent Chicago Board of Education meeting.&nbsp;</em><em>In response to a request for comment from WBEZ, a CPS representative said the warning resolution was warranted.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong>WBEZ: What are principals dealing with this school year that they really haven&rsquo;t faced in past years?</strong></p><p>Troy LaRaviere: I don&rsquo;t know if it&rsquo;s something we haven&#39;t faced in past years. It&rsquo;s the same talking points we get from CPS: budget cuts, trying to piece together a staff with fewer resources.</p><p><strong>Are you able to tell us what cuts you&rsquo;ve had to make since last year?</strong></p><p>We&rsquo;ve lost about $200,000 in terms of personnel.</p><p><strong>And when we&rsquo;re talking $200,000 in personnel cuts as an impact, how does this affect students? Are they directly impacted by cuts like that?</strong></p><p>Of course they are. Whenever you think layoffs, you have to think that person was providing a specific service to a student. And that is a service that student will no longer be getting.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>I wanted to ask you about the reprimand that has raised your profile as a principal, even though it was already a pretty high profile. Last week, the school board reprimanded you for being too outspoken against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS. Do you have colleagues who agree with your concerns but who are too afraid to talk about it?</strong></p><p>Oh, absolutely. I remember last summer, we were in a principals&rsquo; meeting at a North Side high school. A bunch of principals were there. And [CPS] unveiled the testing schedule, and there was almost a rebellion right there in the auditorium at the sheer volume of testing that was on the calendar that they presented to us.</p><p>And in terms of the reprimand itself, it was....about not my position, but my support of parent positions. That&rsquo;s very critical to understand. They didn&rsquo;t reprimand me for being against [the PARCC exam]. They reprimanded me for supporting my parents when a parent gave me a note that said, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want my child taking the PARCC.&rdquo; I respected that.</p><p><strong>There are critics of you that say your support of mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia, and your role as an educational advisor for him, and your very vocal and direct criticism of the mayor and CPS leadership has lead you astray on what is best for the students of Blaine. Some would ask, is this really helping the students of Blaine? What&rsquo;s your response?</strong></p><p>I mean, just think about each one of the policies that I&rsquo;m advocating for. Every single one of them is geared toward students.</p><p>One of the things I was vocal about at the meeting was the $17 million loan that [CPS] took from three of Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s campaign contributors, and promised to pay an additional $17 million in interest if the program worked. If the kids in Pre-K scored better than the kids who didn&rsquo;t get Pre-K. Well, that&rsquo;s a foregone conclusion. Of course they&rsquo;re gonna do better. That&rsquo;s like you going to your plumber and he says &lsquo;It&rsquo;s gonna be $10,000&rsquo; and you say &lsquo;Well, I&rsquo;ll give you $20,000 if it doesn&rsquo;t leak.&rsquo; Who is that irresponsible with their own money? But this administration will be that irresponsible with money that&rsquo;s supposed to be dedicated to our children.</p><p>Everything I&rsquo;ve ever done is directed toward increasing the educational opportunities and quality of the education that students in CPS get, and opposing every policy that CPS brings down that does the opposite.</p><p><strong>More coverage&nbsp;of&nbsp;LaRaviere:</strong></p><p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/chicago-principals-say-they-operate-under-gag-order-110167">Chicago principals say they operate under gag order</a></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principal-rips-cps-school-budgets-emanuel-108108"><strong>Chicago principal rips CPS school budgets, Emanuel</strong></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-principal-says-budget-cuts-testing-schedule-hurt-students-112783 Morning Shift: August 20, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-20/morning-shift-august-20-2015-112694 <p><p>We get an update from the state fair in Springfield where politicians are pitching votes on why they&rsquo;ve got the best ideas to move Illinois forward. Then, technology is changing so quickly, the law can&rsquo;t always keep up. From search engines to social media, from phones to drones, how does a country that calls itself &ldquo;a nation of laws&rdquo; regulate technology that&rsquo;s changing just about daily? Plus, we explore the phenomenon of post-denominational Judaism. And we&rsquo;ll talk with a filmmaker who documented the exodus of a community out of Cabrini Green, the Near North Side public housing complex that was torn down starting in 1995.</p></p> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 11:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-20/morning-shift-august-20-2015-112694 What state fair attendees think of the battle over the state budget http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-20/what-state-fair-attendees-think-battle-over-state-budget-112693 <p><p>Two months into the state&rsquo;s budget stalemate, politicians are taking their ideas directly to the voters this week at the Illinois state fair. Yesterday Governor Rauner roared in on his black Harley Davidson to talk about a property tax freeze and changes to the way Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; pensions are funded. Today&rsquo;s known as Dem Day, so folks can expect to see a lot of Democrats in among the carnival rides and the cows.</p><p>But how open are voters to the governor&rsquo;s &mdash; or the Democrats&rsquo; &mdash; plans? WBEZ statehouse reporter Tony Arnold is down at the fair and he&rsquo;s got some reactions from residents. (Photo: Flickr/katherine johnson)</p></p> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-20/what-state-fair-attendees-think-battle-over-state-budget-112693 One take on what’s wrong with Chicago’s schools budget http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/one-take-what%E2%80%99s-wrong-chicago%E2%80%99s-schools-budget-112684 <p><p>Tuesday night, Chicago Public Schools held three simultaneous hearings, where the public got to weigh in on the district&rsquo;s proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year. That budget includes hundreds of layoffs, and a variety of other cuts. It also relies on 480 million dollars from Springfield that may or may not materialize. Rod Estvan is the education policy analyst for Access Living, the disability advocacy group. He says 2015-2016 is an especially critical year for special education. He was at the public hearing at Schurz High School on the Northwest Side to testify about changes he&rsquo;d like to see CPS make before the board votes on the budget next week.</p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/one-take-what%E2%80%99s-wrong-chicago%E2%80%99s-schools-budget-112684 Gov. Rauner pushes mega bill before state fair http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-18/gov-rauner-pushes-mega-bill-state-fair-112675 <p><p>Illinois is in month two with no budget. Governor Rauner and Democratic leaders remain locked up. Yesterday, the Governor introduced a bill with multiple components... including a property tax freeze, and a new formula to help funnel funds to financially struggling school districts. The bill included a provision that would force teachers, rather than the district, to pick up their pension contributions. Both Rauner and the Democrats will have their chance to pitch their ideas to residents this week at the Illinois State Fair. But if you can&rsquo;t get down to Springfield, we spoke with Governor Rauner before the show. The governor introduced a bill that would pump money to CPS...to help get it out of its pension crisis. That money would come in exchange for a property tax freeze and stripping unions of their collective bargaining rights. We asked how that would work, and what one had to do with the other&hellip; (Photo: AP /Seth Perlman)</p></p> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-18/gov-rauner-pushes-mega-bill-state-fair-112675