On November 26, Chicago City Council passed a budget with a vote of 39-11. While the budget does include modest funding increases for mental health services and homelessness prevention, it does not reflect the values and priorities we and our allies at ONE Northside and the ReImagine Chicago Coalition have been pushing for. This budget fails to reopen public mental health clinics; includes an additional $122 million for the police department; and includes no new sources of progressive revenue. For these reasons, we urged aldermen to vote ‘no’ on the budget. Nine of the 11 ‘no’ votes were allies of ONE Northside and the ReImagine Chicago Coalition.
As part of the campaign, Mishkan hosted two post-shabbos learning tables; organized a phone bank to call fellow Mishkanites about the campaign; called our alderpeople; attended two budget town halls; and engaged in direct action at City Hall. Thank you to all of you who participated! Even though we didn’t win the budget we wanted, the nice thing about city budget organizing is that we’ll get to try again next year . . .
. . . speaking of which, next (Gregorian) year is the year of Fair Tax! Did you know that the Illinois Constitution prohibits the state from implementing a graduated income tax? That means you, me and our local billionaires are all paying the same state income tax rate, and the state cannot raise revenues without overburdening working-class people. Fortunately, on November 3, 2020, Illinois voters will have the opportunity to vote on a statewide referendum to amend the state constitution in order to allow for a graduated income tax. Mishkan will be working with our allies at ONE Northside to mobilize voters to vote YES on Fair Tax in 2020, so stay tuned!