CTU praises Ald. Fioretti`s commuter tax proposal - New York News

Mixed feelings over commuter tax proposal

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

An alderman, who first told FOX 32 News about his city income tax proposal two weeks ago, offered new details Monday and won praise from the Chicago Teachers Union.

Ald. Bob Fioretti said Chicago does not face a public employee pension crisis. The government funds that write retirees' checks could soon be broke, but Fioretti called it a revenue crisis. He appealed for a new income tax on the 600,000 commuters he said work in Chicago, but live elsewhere.

"If those people who live outside the city, but work here, paid as little as 1% in their taxes we could generate more than $300 million annually," Fioretti says. "This could help stabilize our pension funds and reduce class size in CPS schools."

$300 million, though, falls far short of the $1.1 billion additional dollars that current state law requires Chicago to pay next year to pension funds for police, firefighters and teachers. The Chicago Teachers Union opposes any move to reduce the cost of retirement benefits.

"Revenue is the issue," says Stacy Davis Gates, Political Director with the Chicago Teachers Union. "Pensions are not the issue. He proposed a commuter tax. He also proposed other innovative ideas."

Among Fioretti's other ideas: broadening the city sales tax to apply to services that he did not specify today. He's also proposed taxing the international financial exchanges based Downtown. Experts said Fioretti's tax proposals would likely require approval from the Illinois General Assembly and the City Council, where they would be a tough sell.

"I think it's a bad idea," Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green says about Fioretti's proposal. "I don't think you want to set up city-suburban fights. It's bad enough as they keep fighting for the various business locations as United and other places leave the suburbs and come to Chicago."

Commuters are not happy about the proposed tax.

Several Chicago commuters told FOX 32 they think the tax is a bad idea and the city should have been saving money to use for pensions.

"I don't think it is a good idea," one person said.

As Ald. Fioretti lays the groundwork to run for mayor himself, he used some of his toughest language yet attacking Mayor Emanuel. Quoting a poet, Fioretti suggested Emanuel is "building a second city" for Chicago's elite, "a Gold Coast Heaven" sequestered from the "low-end Hell" where he said Chicago's "damned" reside.

Several city officials say the tax may be a tough sell.

FOX 32's Lisa Chavarria contributed to this report.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-09-17 00:43:17 GMT
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
  • High-fiving strangers in NYC

    High-fiving strangers in NYC

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:01:29 GMT
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
  • Empire State Building Facebook review controversy

    Empire State Building Facebook review controversy

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:52:40 GMT
    When it comes to visiting New York City landmarks, half the fun is reviewing them afterward on social media sites like Facebook. But some folks say the Empire State Building is reporting their reviews as spam.
    When it comes to visiting New York City landmarks, half the fun is reviewing them afterward on social media sites like Facebook. But some folks say the Empire State Building is reporting their reviews as spam.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices