Rahm is proposing the biggest property tax increase in modern Chicago history — in a city that already has the highest sales tax in the whole nation. Rahm says it’s “inevitable” if the city is going to stay in the black. The corporate press says the city’s finances are a mess and “tough choices” — more cutbacks, thousands of layoffs, big tax hikes on ordinary Chicagoans — must be made. What do socialists say about all of this?
First of all, we say that this is not a complicated issue. It’s actually quite simple. Chicago is not broke. We live in one of the most wealthy cities in the world. Some of the biggest corporations in the world and richest individuals in the US call our city home. Scarcity isn’t our problem — it’s backward political priorities that favor the wealthy few to the detriment of the majority.
We say: not a single cent increase in taxes or fees on ordinary working-class Chicagoans. None. Period.
Not a single cut to our schools, roads, transit, libraries, health clinics, and so forth. Not one.
Not a single layoff for teachers, bus drivers, librarians — for city workers of any kind.
The solution to Chicago’s budget woes are simple: tax the rich. And then tax them some more.
Tax big-ticket financial transactions on LaSalle Street just like they tax us when we buy socks. Tax luxury assets in excess of $1 million. Tax the big landlords in the loop with high-powered lawyers to get them out of paying property taxes.
And while we’re at it, we could stop wasting precious city funds on handouts to the rich — you know, stuff like: TIF’s, corporate subsidies, tax breaks for the likes of Boeing, and interest/service fees for the fat cat banks that hold Chicago city debt.