Home > Uncategorized > Chicago Schools Can’t Afford Nurses… But Chicago Politicians Can Forgo $2,400,000,000 in Revenue?

Chicago Schools Can’t Afford Nurses… But Chicago Politicians Can Forgo $2,400,000,000 in Revenue?

Diane Ravitch does a good job of flagging gross injustices of urban governments, and of all city governments in America Chicago stands out as being particularly egregious in terms of diverting funds away from public education into the pockets of donors. The most recent case in point is Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s efforts to fast track a tax increment financing (TIF) district before he leaves office in May. Called many things in many cities, a TIF is a de facto diversion of local taxes that could be used for things like roads, schools, and wages for urban employees to real estate developers. Here’s the overview of how Chicago’s TIF funds would be used:

The proposed Roosevelt/Clark TIF would fund $700 million in infrastructure envisioned by developers of The 78 along the south branch of the Chicago River. Meanwhile, the Cortland/Chicago River TIF would encompass the proposed Lincoln Yards development along the river’s north branch.

So developers would receive public funds to help them underwrite the costs of gentrification while schools remain in disrepair and schools are unable to afford nurses because of the lack of money? Oh, and what happens when those funds are diverted from the public coffers to those of developers?

….Ultimately… families across Chicago will have to pay higher property taxes to offset the funds held in these TIF accounts over the next 23 years.

When these kinds of stunts are pulled at the local level, they are understandable and MAYBE taxpayers can mobilize against them. But what is happening in Chicago is a microcosm of what is happening at the national level where tax cuts for millionaires are “starving the beast”. In a year or so, when most taxpayers will have forgotten this shell game, if the GOP remains in control they will claim that “austerity measures are needed” to address the entitlements that are out of control. When developers get a tax break in Chicago schools “can’t afford” nurses. When millionaires and billionaires get a tax cut our government “can’t afford” social security and health care.

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