CHICAGO, Jan. 29, 2020The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement today in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s State of the State address:

Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois is in a better position this year than it was at this time last year. The conditions for improvement were laid here in Chicago by community groups and labor organizations who were clear that the wealthy should pay their fair share; that we must invest in child care and public schools; that we must reform our criminal justice system; and that we must center justice and equity in how Illinois moves forward.

To that end, the Chicago Teachers Union recommends concrete steps to continue this progress. To support public education, Illinois and the City of Chicago must quickly increase their financial commitment to the school funding formula—equity is impossible without sufficient funding—and that new funding should come from a new Fair Tax. To address property taxes, our city and state must reform tax increment financing (TIF) laws, end tax breaks and handouts to billionaires who do not need them, and instead, reinvest in libraries, schools, infrastructure and parks that benefit all Illinois residents.

Our city and state must also provide affordable housing and increase employment opportunities. And to ensure that people who need mental health care are not imprisoned under the guise of “treatment,” we should invest more in homeless support services to prevent those who require medical care from entering the criminal justice system. Investments like these are preventative and provide far more long-term benefits than the constant proposal of cuts, consolidations, closures and efficiencies.

We look forward to the governor’s budget address to learn more about his specific proposals on investing in and securing Illinois’ social and financial future.

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 www.ctulocal1.org.