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Mayoral Allies Again Block Measure To Raise Real Estate Taxes To Reduce Homelessness

“None of these shenanigans came through when we were rushing through the Lincoln Yards” development, Ald. Roberto Maldonado said.

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless rallies before Tuesday’s meeting of the Finance Committee in support of an effort to raise taxes for homeless services.
A.D. Quig/The Daily Line
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CHICAGO — An effort to raise the city’s real estate taxes to expand efforts to end homelessness in Chicago stalled again Monday, as allies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel blocked efforts to ask voters to approve the proposal.

Advocates of the measure had planned to ask Finance Committee members to put the proposal to hike the city’s Real Estate Transfer Tax to voters in the November 2020 election, but Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) objected to its consideration, saying the matter should be considered by the Rules Committee.

“If this is a good proposal, then a majority of members of the Rules Committee, which is all 50 members of the Council, can vote in the affirmative or against,” Reilly said. “But that is the proper committee for this to be considered, like all other referenda.”

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) objected, saying Reilly — who also blocked the proposal from advancing in November — was engaged in “shenanigans.”

“None of these shenanigans came through when we were rushing through the Lincoln Yards” development, Maldonado said.

A vote to send the matter to the Rules Committee, led by Emanuel ally Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), passed by a vote of 11-10.

Aldermen voting no on Reilly’s motion to send the proposal to the Rules Committee were: Pat Dowell (3rd); Leslie Hairston (5th); George Cardenas (12th); Toni Foulkes (16th); Roberto Maldonado (26th); Walter Burnett Jr. (27th); Ariel Reboyras (30th); Scott Waguespack (32nd); John Arena (45th) and Harry Osterman (48th).

Aldermen voting to delay a vote on the matter were Michelle Harris (8th); Anthony Beale (9th); Patrick Daley Thompson (11th); Derrick Curtis (18th); Matt O’Shea (19th); Howard Brookins (21st); Carrie Austin (34th); Nicholas Sposato (38th); Margaret Laurino (39th); Brendan Reilly (42nd); and Tom Tunney (44th).

The vote prompted dozens of the supporters of the measure to erupt in jeers, and chants of “housing is a human right!” before they were all escorted out of the City Council Chambers.

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimates that the measure up would generate enough revenue to shrink the city’s homeless population by 35,000 people during its first 10 years. The coalition estimates that 80,000 Chicagoans are grappling with homelessness.

The measure (R2018-1937) — sponsored by Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) and Ald. Arena —  keeps the current tax rate of $3.75 for every $500 of the purchase price up to $1 million. The rate would increase to $9.75 for every $500 of homes sold for more than $1 million.

Aldermen approved the other items covered in our preview.

In addition, aldermen approved three police misconduct settlements, including a $248,000 payment to a woman who said she was beaten by Chicago Police officers after the planned March 2016 Donald Trump rally at the UIC Pavilion.