Mayor should seize available funding—and use it for the common good.

CHICAGO, August 29, 2019—CTU President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to Mayor Lightfoot’s public address on the City’s budget deficit:

CTU has long recognized the challenges that the City of Chicago faces. For eight years, we laid out in extensive detail the shortcomings in the previous mayor’s management strategy for our city and our schools. Like the CPS budget passed yesterday, however, that legacy has become the current administration’s policy on the City side, as well. The only way to do what Mayor Lightfoot proposes for Chicago’s working class neighborhoods is to raise revenue from those who have reaped all of the benefits of Chicago’s new economy. The deficit claimed here is less than 0.2% of the City’s economy. The money is there, and the administration should choose to use it for the common good.

Tomorrow, the City should:

  • Declare a $400 million TIF surplus: $200 million to CPS (double the budgeted amount) and $100 million to the city without one more dollar from the City’s taxpayers. TIF policy should also be revised to impose hard guarantees on hiring from high unemployment neighborhoods and stiff claw-backs for goals not met.
  • $100 million corporate head tax from companies that are reaping the benefits of Trump’s gigantic federal tax breaks. Corporate Chicago is, by every measure, vastly better off than it was eight years ago.

The best way to grow the City is to ensure that people have what they need: good paying jobs now, not two years from now; stable, well-resourced schools with appropriate supports; accessible and affordable housing; appropriate physical and mental healthcare; and public safety that doesn’t include the constant threat of abusive policing.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at