The Southside Together Organizing for Power coalition used the final
City Council meeting of the year Wednesday to pillory Rahm Emanuel and
the City Council for closing down six of the city’s twelve mental health
clinics. The City Council passed the 2012 budget 50-0 last month, a budget that will shutter the clinics as well as privatize seven health centers and lay off 155 city health workers.
STOP protesters sang, “Holiday carols
to save our clinics” outside of City Council chambers. For example, to
the tune of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, two-dozen or so protesters
belted out, “Mayor Emanuel’s budget/Wants to make our clinics close/All
of the City Council/Shrugs and says, ‘That’s how it goes.’”
Make Wall Street Pay Illinois is deeply disappointed in the State Senate’s action today and we call on Governor Pat Quinn to veto this fundamentally flawed piece of legislation. SB 397 is a corporate welfare bill that sends Illinois’ budget priorities in the exact wrong direction.
To add insult to injury, CME Group and other large corporations demonstrated that they have the power to convene the entire state legislature. The only reason the General Assembly met yesterday and today was to pass this tax break. Do such massive corporate interests have more power than Speaker Mike Madigan, Senator John Cullerton or Governor Pat Quinn? The laid-off teachers, fire-fighters and social service providers deserve urgent attention but do not call the legislature when things did not go their way in the legislature.
The following is from Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois
and Indiana, on the passage of the tax break package passed by the Illinois House earlier today.
By granting a large
tax break today to one of Illinois’ most prosperous companies, the
Illinois House has concentrated more wealth in the hands of the rich,
even as average workers are literally taking to the streets to decry
growing income inequality.
While we applaud the House for passing a
separate bill that expands the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-wage
households, the benefits of this measure are eclipsed by the magnitude
of the tax breaks lawmakers approved for the state’s corporate
heavyweights. For every one dollar in tax breaks the House has given to
workers struggling to propel themselves out of poverty, it has doled out
nearly two dollars to corporations.
Grassroots Collaborative offers a look at the "gross misuse" of tax increment financing funds in Chicago's downtown area, explaining how it comes at the expense of some already-struggling neighborhoods.
Occupy Chicago participants formed a breadline Friday afternoon
to protest budget cuts and proposed legislation aimed at giving tax
breaks to large corporations. The Illinois General Assembly is expected
to vote on Senate bill 405 next week, a measure that would provide
massive tax cuts totaling more than $100 million for the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange
(CBOE). The bill comes in a time of economic turmoil with the state
facing an $8 billion budget deficit in the upcoming year, according to the Civic Federation.