Residents of Chicago's 23rd Ward raised concerns about the city's tax increment financing (TIF) program after learning Wednesday evening that millions in economic development funds have yet to be spent in their community.
At the CivicLab's TIF town hall meeting at John F. Kennedy High School, Southwest Side community members learned that the six TIF districts located in the 23rd Ward had about $16.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013. Last year alone, the ward's TIF districts collected nearly $2.3 million in property tax revenue, according to the CivicLab's analysis.
Business owner and Southwest Side resident Martin Arteaga, who is running for alderman in the 23rd Ward, attended the meeting.
"There needs to be a lot more clarity and transparency as to where this TIF money is going," he told Progress Illinois. "Here in the 23rd Ward, particularly in the Midway Airport area along Cicero Avenue, you have a bunch of empty lots. We could use some of that money to redevelop that area and actually be able to expand our tax base, because we have thousands of people who pass through going to Midway Airport.
Demonstrators delivered a letter to Chicago's Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday demanding that United States Attorney General Eric Holder launch an investigation into crimes, they say, have been committed by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The letter calls on Holder to investigate the CPD as a whole, as well as Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and law enforcement in other local municipalities where individuals were either killed or harmed by police.
The demonstrators said the shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American male in Ferguson, Missouri, is part of a larger pattern of police targeting people of color.
“Ninety people have been murdered by Chicago Police officers in the last four years,” said Ted Pearson, a member of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR). “Something has to be done to stop this, what’s been going on in Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Real hourly wages fell for just about all U.S. workers, including those with a college degree, between the first half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, according to an analysis of new wage data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation Tuesday that provides extra protection for pregnant women on the job.
“It’s important for employers to know, by law, that accommodations are sometimes necessary for our pregnant moms,” said Quinn at a press conference at the Alivio Medical Center in Pilsen. “This is really the best way to help families in Illinois. We want our families to be healthy from the start.”
House Bill 8, sponsored by State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) makes it a civil rights violation to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees who decide to work while they carry their baby to term.
“I’ve heard horror stories of women being fired from their jobs or having to hide their pregnancy because if their bosses knew they were pregnant early on they would’ve been fired,” said Flowers. “Women have even lost their babies because the employer would not make the type of accommodations necessary for them.”