Chicago, a city that is facing financial difficulties and persistent crime problems, seeks solutions to restore stability and security. However, proposed measures to tax and spend their way out of these challenges raise concerns and uncertainties.
The Action Center on Race & the Economy and The People’s Unity Platform, both strong allies to Mayor Brandon Johnson, have published a paper entitled “First You Get The Cash” (Yes. Seriously).
Chicago is proposing a 3.5 percent citywide income tax for households that earn $100,000 or more. It is important to take into account the cost-of-living adjustment, which was highlighted in a Smart Asset Report. The cost of living adjustment shows that $100,000 in Chicago equals $59,000. This reduces the financial capability of households who are already struggling to pay for the high cost.
In the same academic paper, it is suggested that a “mansion tax” be implemented on all sales of property over $1 million. This would increase the tax rate to 3.1 percent from 1.9 percent. The tax would be extended to industrial and commercial properties. It is important to consider the consequences of the tax, even if the intent was to target wealthy owners. Taxes on high-value property can discourage investment, slow economic growth and affect the real estate markets.
Former mayor Rahm Emanuel abolished the Chicago Head Tax in 2014, saying that it was essential for the future of the city and all businesses. The academic paper, however, proposes its revival. This could have major implications for the business community. This tax could discourage businesses from expanding or establishing operations in Chicago. It may also lead to job loss and a decline in economic activity.
Illinois Department of Human Services will allocate $30 million of Covid funds that have not been spent to the Peace Keepers Program. Although investing in programs that reduce violence within communities is commendable it raises questions about the proposed tax increase to support such initiatives. The funding of these programs must be sustainable over the long term because relying on unreliable revenue sources could compromise their effectiveness.
The organization Violence Interrupters plans to hire 1,000 additional violence interrupters to address the escalating gun violence in Chicago. While their goal of reducing gun violence by 50 percent is commendable, the absence of a specified end date raises questions about the feasibility and sustainability of this objective. Additionally, there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of similar programs implemented in other cities before replicating them in Chicago.
Chicago’s struggle against rampant crime, gun violence, and other forms of violent crime is a major challenge for its future. Gang-related crimes often result in serious injuries and deaths among city residents. The defunding of the police movement has had a negative impact on the morale of Chicago police officers. The defunding of the police movement has caused officers to retire early and seek employment in suburbs where their efforts are valued.
The quality of recruits will deteriorate, and corruption in the police force will become a major concern. Chicago Police Department investigates allegations that officers engaged in sexual relations at the Ogden District Station. Reports indicate that four officers are being investigated, and a teenage immigrant may be pregnant. These allegations not only damage the reputation of police officers but also point out the need for reforms and accountability in the department.
Chicago’s crime and financial problems need sustainable solutions. Although proposals like income tax increases and mansion taxes may seem to be a quick solution in the short term, it is important to consider the long-term consequences. It is shortsighted to divert tax revenues for programs such as the “Peace Keepers Program”, instead of hiring more police and training them. It is also short-sighted to think that you can tax yourself out of irresponsible expenditure. Chicago should work to ensure a prosperous and secure future for all its residents. Unfortunately, the slogan “First You Get The Money”, is not going to lead Chicago towards a prosperous and secure future.