A City Minimum Wage
There are an estimated 400,000 minimum wage workers in Illinois. Minimum wage workers earn only $17,000 a year, working full-time. Behind these workers are hundreds of thousands of other people—children, spouses, aging parents—who rely on that worker for support. Chicago’s higher cost of living adds an extra layer of burden to city minimum wage workers.
Families are struggling to survive, going without food, clothing, medical care and sometimes even shelter because their wages are too low to support themselves or their families.
It’s time we demand that the large corporations that are profiting off these hardworking Chicago families with a revenue of over $50 million pay a fair minimum wage of at least $15 an hour. That’s the minimum wage for true self-sufficiency in the city—and everyone who works for a living deserves to make enough money to meet their basic needs.
A Real Investment in Our Children’s Education
Our children’s schools are being closed, their teachers laid off, and their educational resources cut or privatized at bargain prices to well-connected corporations and political players. Instead of seeking additional revenue to support our public schools and provide our children with the educational resources they need for a successful future, Mayor Emanuel has pushed for hundreds of millions of tax dollars, in the form of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), to go to private developers downtown.
It’s time that our tax money is used to support our public school system and give our children the education they need and deserve instead of being handed over to predatory banks, greedy downtown developers and educational privatizers.
Governance matters. Chicagoans deserve an Elected Representative School Board, not a mayoral-appointed and controlled yes-Board, to ensure accountability to the families of Chicago, not just to the Mayor.
The choice is simple—we can continue to pad the profit margins of rich corporations and help the rich afford mansions, yachts and luxury office suites, or we can demand fair taxes so seniors get home healthcare, students get fully funded education, and the state’s most vulnerable families get the support they need. We believe the rich should pay their fair share of taxes. Illinois is one of only a few states with a regressive flat income tax, which means a higher tax burden on the poorest workers. It also means we don’t have the revenue we need to spark the economy and get people back to work.
Our neighborhoods are increasingly blighted by boarded up homes as former homeowners have been turned out on the streets by predatory banks. Rents continue to skyrocket, and those families able to secure housing face streets made more dangerous by high vacancy rates.
The city should keep its commitment stated in the 5-year housing plan to allocate $35 million for the TIF Purchase Rehab program over the next five years. These funds will help turn foreclosed properties into affordable housing. The city should work with aldermen to ensure that all of these funds are allocated.
And it’s time for the city to stand up to the predatory practices of big banks and mortgage companies and to defend homeowners from unfair foreclosures, before any additional homes are boarded up, inviting more crime on our streets.
A City Budget that Invests in Us
Profitable corporations increasingly find ways to tap their already deep roots into our city budget funds, as Chicago working families continue to bear the brunt of funding cuts impacting every aspect of our daily lives. Mayor Emanuel has closed mental health clinics across the city, leaving those most in need of mental health care with nowhere else to turn. Our children are suffering from school closings, and the loss of teachers and resources as funds are instead diverted to well-connected corporations. Cuts impact our parks, libraries, access to clinics and hospitals and other services that the city’s most vulnerable citizens depend upon.
It’s time we invested our city funds into the people of Chicago, and stopped diverting resources away to make rich corporations even richer at our expense.