ALDERMAN RODERICK T. SAWYER CALLS FOR PLAN TO INVEST IN CHICAGO
Today, Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer of the Sixth (6th) Ward calls for broader investment in the city of Chicago. After today’s special meeting of the City Council, Alderman Sawyer said that he is looking forward to seeing the details of the Mayor’s budget and that he is optimistic about the stated investments that attempt to address the major issues of violence, infrastructure and pension obligations. However he believes that long term solutions will require the city to look at new revenue.
“I know it’s unpopular to speak about new revenue but at some point this discussion needs to be had,” Alderman Sawyer said, “We cannot afford to believe that we will have addressed all the foreseeable future challenges in Chicago simply by balancing this budget. Fundamentally, we are facing a question about how we want this city to be. Are we a city that chooses between public safety and public health, between honoring contractual obligations and educating our children, or are we going to think about some ways to adopt a “both and” strategy? I am fully in support of job growth but if the majority of the high paid jobs we are creating are held by people who take advantage of all that Chicago has to offer without sharing its financial obligations we are not creating a sustainable system.“
Alderman Sawyer is not currently in favor of a commuter tax, income tax for non residents or returning the head tax as the solution to the budget shortfalls. “My belief is that this is why we must invest in our city neighborhoods; when we build better neighborhood schools, fix our crumbling streets, hire more police officers, replace our aging lighting and modernize the transportation plans and services for our neighborhoods, we create neighborhoods that are attractive to the middle class and upper middle class families that are necessary to keep this city strong. The more families we have living, working and shopping in the city of Chicago means the stronger financial footing the city government is on. That begins with an investment in modernizing our communities beyond the $1.3 million of the menu program.”
Alderman Sawyer notes that the $1.2 Billion that the Mayor commented could pave 32,000 streets in Chicago makes up the full Capital Improvement Program or “menu” budget of the city council for nearly 20 years. Meanwhile Alderman Sawyer also is a strong proponent of TIF reform that would allow new TIFs with larger potential projects to get a boost in order to maximize their use as a tool for economic development. The Alderman has held public meetings on transit oriented development projects and urban business planning as a way to heighten the attractiveness of many areas to potential homeowners.
“I don’t claim to have all the answers,” Sawyer concluded “but I know we will never find them if we don’t seriously discuss the size and scope of the issue.”
Brian E. Sleet
Chief of Staff
Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer 6th Ward Chicago
4631/2 East 83rd Street
Chicago Illinois 60619