We've been getting a lot of questions about budget cuts and potential sources of funding. Here's a quick FAQ:
What is RYH working on right now to restore budget cuts?
City-wide tif surplus return – short term
Graduated income tax campaign – long term. A new campaign launches this weekend with numerous organizations citywide. Email us if you want to learn more –firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about pensions? CPS is blaming school cuts on pension issues
There are two pension systems in Illinois, TRS and the Chicago Teacher’s Pension fund (CTPF). CTPF has not been included in state level-pension reform talks. Neither the Madigan nor Cullerton pension reform bills included the CTPF.
The state has grossly underfunded pensions for years. CPS took a "pension holiday" and kicked the can down the road for three years, greatly reducing their payment obligations in the short term. Now that holiday is over, they owe an increased payment of about $400 million. But none of the current bills in Springfield address this.
Illinois has had one of the lowest tax rates in the nation -- a flat 3% income tax for years (and a temporary 5% flat tax now). The state was not even bringing in enough revenue to pay our bills to maintain our roadways, staff first responders, and educate our children. This is why we are working on a graduated income tax campaign at the state level. The state only kicks in about 30% of total education funding in Illinois -- the lowest share of the cost of education in the nation -- leaving districts to rely heavily on property taxes, causing great inequity across the state.
What is RYH asking for on TIFs?
We are asking for support to return a city-wide TIF surplus back to all public schools. We are not asking alderman to only use surplus TIF district funds in their ward and send money to a particular school. You cannot ask your alderman to send money back to your school, this is not how a surplus works.
A city-wide surplus would send money back to the taxing body (CPS) from where it was originally diverted.
While there’s around a billion dollars in TIF accounts, we think there is about $278 million in unallocated tif funds that could be sent back to the taxing bodies.
See our Math here: What's in the TIF Pot
What can you Do?
* Attend your school's LSC meeting to find out what's happening with budget cuts at your school
*Organize a letter writing party with friends. Collect a bunch of letters and bring them to your elected official's office
* Tweet to @chicagosmayor to restore the budget cuts at CPS
* Call your alderman and state legislators and report the cuts
*Attend a ward night meeting for your alderman - times listed on our website
* Attend a RYH action. Check our website for details
* Get involved in the graduated income tax campaign (email us email@example.com)
* Join an existing tif squad to visit your alderperson (email us firstname.lastname@example.org)