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Aldermen Push To Use TIF Surplus Money to Prevent CPS Cuts

By Paul Biasco | January 20, 2016 5:53am
 Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and 17 other aldermen are calling for TIF surplus money to be used to prevent cuts to CPS.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and 17 other aldermen are calling for TIF surplus money to be used to prevent cuts to CPS.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LOGAN SQUARE — A group of aldermen are calling for TIF district surplus money to be used to offset possible Chicago Public Schools cuts. And they want citizens to help with the push.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) introduced a resolution during last week's City Council hearing calling for the surplus. As of Tuesday, the resolution had 17 co-sponsors including the members of the council's Progressive Caucus.

Ramirez-Rosa said immediate action is necessary as CPS is already bracing for possible teacher layoffs amid a budget battle with Springfield.

"Ultimately we need the governor to join us in finding a long-term solution, but right now we know he is hell-bent on destroying unions and holding everything and anything hostage to make that happen," Ramirez-Rosa said.

Chicago Public Schools officials have said the standoff in Springfield could lead to cuts of 5,000 teacher positions as early as February if a $480 million budget gap isn't closed, according to the Sun-Times.

The resolution $1.38 billion held in all of the city's TIF districts.

Ramirez-Rosa is asking citizens to become co-sponsors of the bill through an online petition, with the hopes of putting pressure on more aldermen to sign onto the resolution.

"We are trying to get the word about this out there and one of the ways to do this is by asking for citizens to co-sponsor," he said. "My sense is a lot of aldermen are going to be supportive of this measure."

This is not the first time aldermen have attempted to divert development funds to public schools.

In 2013 Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) submitted an ordinance to declare a TIF surplus. That resolution was signed by 26 aldermen as CPS faced an estimated $1 billion deficit.

The mayor rejected that proposal.

At that time Rahm Emanuel said, "You cannot either tax your way or TIF your way out of this problem."

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