CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of community activists gathered Tuesday evening at the UIC Forum to discuss ways to create jobs, provide better schools, change the state’s tax structure and redirect budget priorities.

Grassroots Collaborative Executive Director Amisha Patel convened the meeting, which was called “Take Back Chicago.”

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She said the city could do more to create jobs. She said the city provides generous tax breaks to attract businesses from the suburbs and beyond to relocate to Chicago, but she said city residents are not getting enough of the jobs.

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“When a corporation is asking for a subsidy, for example, there should be requirements around how many jobs they are going to create and how many jobs will go to local (from the city) workers, and then have a fallback measure that says that if they don’t meet those job requirements then they actually have to return the money,” she said.

Patel said she believes most Illinoisans back a graduated state income tax, instead of the current flat tax, and said it would help provide badly-needed money to education, although she said the city should redirect tax increment financing money to neighborhood schools.

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She said Mayor Emanuel was invited, and chose not to attend. But she said the activists will go door-to-door to try to build grassroots support for their program and will ask aldermen to try to free several bills from council committee, including one that would put limits on privatization of city jobs.