took to City Hall Tuesday afternoon to demand that aldermen resurrect
critical ordinances from the Rules Committee, also known to some as the place "where good legislation goes to die."
50 organizers with the Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition of labor
and community groups, staged a "burial protest" highlighting the various
measures stalled in the rules committee, putting a specific focus on a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Surplus Ordinance Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd)
introduced back in July.
The ordinance calls for any TIF surplus funds
to be sent back to government agencies, including the Chicago Public
Schools (CPS) district, which would help ease recent school budget cuts. The measured
garnered support from 32 out of the council's 50 aldermen, but it's been pending
in the Rules Committee since it was introduced.
TIF funds come from a portion of collected property tax dollars from those living inside a TIF district. TIF dollars are typically used for economic development projects in the city. The
activists, however, said the "buried" TIF Surplus Ordinance would release
millions of additional dollars that could be used for the struggling public
schools system as well as expanded community services, including the reopening
of six city mental health clinics that closed last year.
"But instead of being debated and voted on, this ordinance is stuck in [the] Rules Committee," stressed Grassroots Collaborative Executive Director Amisha Patel. "There it's buried along with many other good ordinances."