Aldermen Want To Reinstate “Head Tax,” Use TIF Surplus To Bail Out CPS

CHICAGO (CBS) — Several aldermen, activists, and others have pushed their own plan to bail out the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools, since Mayor Rahm Emanuel has yet to outline how he plans to keep the district open through the end of the school year.

For a second time since vowing CPS would not end the school year early, the mayor has canceled a briefing for aldermen on how his administration will keep schools open through June 20, despite a $129 million budget shortfall.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) was livid.

“Schools apparently do not have the funding that they need to stay open. The mayor has promised that he has a plan to accomplish that, yet he hasn’t shared with the public, the aldermen, teachers, parents, or students the details of that plan,” he said.

On Tuesday, some aldermen pushed ordinances to use surplus tax increment financing development money and reinstate the city head tax Emanuel eliminated in his first term. The City Council voted to phase out the much-maligned $4-per-employee monthly head tax on companies with 50 or more employees in 2011.

Ramirez-Rosa and 17 other aldermen have backed legislation that would create an even higher $33-per-employee monthly head tax.

“If you’re Target, if you’re Wal-Mart, that $20,000 additional per year for every 50 employees is no sweat off your back, but it will generate the $106 million that our schools need to keep their doors open,” Ramirez-Rosa said.

Meantime, the mayor’s office has continued crafting its own plan to keep CPS financially afloat.

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