Chicago at the Tipping Point: New FOX 32 News Series - New York News

Chicago at the Tipping Point: New FOX 32 News Series

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX 32 News is starting a new series: "Chicago at the Tipping Point."

We know -- as you do -- that Chicago is at a critical point, where things can either get better, or much worse. We want to know what you think about which way things will go.

Joblessness and violent drug gangs? Lousy schools and families fleeing? We'll be looking at those connections in our city.

First Lady Michelle Obama wasn't the only one weeping for murder victim Hadiya Pendleton at the high-school cheerleader's funeral. Thousands did across the city watching FOX 32's live broadcast. It seemed to epitomize the horrifying cost of killings here -- a loss to Chicago one study put at $2.5 billion a year.

The police claim recent progress against the violence, but not necessarily the gang members causing so much of it.

"We're getting a handle on the violence," said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy. "The gang issue is a cultural issue. Don't expect the Police Department to fix the gang issue. That takes community."  

The word "murder" itself has come to symbolize the dysfunction in some Chicago communities. That's the sense in which it's now used routinely by critics of Rahm Emanuel, like Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.

"He is the murder mayor," Lewis said. "Look at the murder rate in the city. He's murdering schools. He's murdering good jobs."

Lewis did not come off as well as the mayor in Time Magazine's upcoming cover story, "Chicago Bull." Ever a whirling dervish of spin, Emanuel had a line ready when asked about it Thursday.

"I'm bullish about a Chicago that has the largest graduation class from its community colleges in 20 years," he said. "This is a city on the move, a city that is actually tackling its challenges and turning those challenges into opportunities."

Chicago and the suburbs have a have stake in the financial challenges facing Gov. Quinn and the General Assembly.  As Friday night's adjournment deadline looms, there's still been no final action on public employee pension reform.  It's forcing cuts elsewhere in the budget and it's the chief reason Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state.

When Springfield raised the state income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, it was to pay off billions of dollars in unpaid bills.  That hasn't happened, even though the tax increase is supposed to expire at the end of 2014, allowing taxpayers to keep more than $6 billion a year.
And the general assembly is adopting a budget that does nothing to prepare for next year's expiration of the "temporary" increase in the state income tax.

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