Up next: a Chicago bailout?
Chicago politicians have been the leading advocates for the state of Illinois’ borrowing, but they’ve also pushed their own city to the financial brink, and are now begging suburban and downstate leaders to bail them out.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is actively lobbying the state legislature, asking it to approve measures that would raise taxes and divert more state money to Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
CPS already boasts spending that’s among the highest of any school district in Illinois -- more than $15,000 per student. State and federal taxpayers pay for more than half of it today.
Last month, Chicago Teacher’s Union Spokesman Jesse Sharkey called for state taxpayers to raise that total by another 25 percent, to $20,000 per student.
CPS funding has grown 47 percent over the past 10 years, while its enrollment has fallen.
Emanuel and Sharkey are looking to the state for help because Chicago property taxpayers cannot pay for this themselves.
They are currently on the hook for nearly $58 billion in city and county debt, or $57,213 per home. To pay for this on its own, the city would have to increase property taxes by 300 percent, or to nearly $15,000 per year on a $200,000 home.
How much do they earn?
What does the average Chicago public employee earn?
• Chicago Water Reclamation District Employee $133,524
• Chicago Firefighter $115,114
• Chicago Police Officer $104,943
• Chicago Public School Teacher $91,351
• Cook County Employee $78,875
• City of Chicago Employee $58,414
Totals include pension contribution but not health benefits.