To: Mayor Lori Lightfoot
From: Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, Ald. Maria Hadden, Ald. Daniel LaSpata, Ald. Matt Martin, Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa, Ald. Mike Rodriguez, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Ald. Jeanette Taylor, Ald. Andre Vasquez
Re: A 2020 #BudgetForTheMany
Like you, we ran on a bold vision of putting working families first. Now, it’s time to make good on that promise. The 2020 budget is our chance to begin building a city that provides for the many, not just the wealthy few.
We all ran on the promise of a city where Black, Brown, and working families can thrive. One where residents can afford to stay in their communities, have access to healthcare and quality schools, and feel safe. Like you, we know how desperately important it is to get this budget right in order to fulfill these promises to Chicago.
For too long, public dollars have been funneled to downtown developers while working-class families of color have been starved of resources. For too long, Chicago has overpoliced communities of color, spending hundreds of millions of public dollars on cop academies and defending violent officers at the expense of root cause solutions. For too long, elected officials have passed one austerity budget after another, asking Black, Brown, and working people to pay ever increasing regressive taxes, fines, and fees while suffering continued service cuts.
Budgets are about priorities and choices. We will not ask poor and working people to continue to carry the lion’s share of the burden in place of those who profit from their low wages, evictions, and crumbling schools. We understand the seriousness of the projected budget shortfall and we are prepared to dig in and work hard to find solutions. We need to work together to prioritize working people--not wealthy developers. If there is money for Lincoln Yards and Cop Academies, then there is money for affordable housing, public mental health clinics, pensions, fully-funded schools, youth programs and jobs.
As we head into negotiations over the 2020 budget, we intend to keep our promises to our communities. We are committed to fighting for a budget that divests from failed policing and gentrifying developers, invests in communities and neighborhoods, and requires the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share. As organizers, we will fight alongside, and seek real community input from the people who have been leading this fight to reimagine Chicago for decades.
We are hopeful that together, we will make good on what we promised the people of Chicago, and put forth a budget that finally gets our priorities straight.