CHICAGO — Homelessness was the top item Wednesday on City Council’s agenda.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is proposing to raise the real estate transfer tax on properties sold for more than $1 million to create dedicated funding to combat homelessness.
Long a priority of progressives, the tax would pour roughly $100 million more annually into homelessness programs.
As the Council took up the matter, other items on Johnson’s agenda were delayed.
“You’re going to communicate with my community and me anytime you’re looking to put migrants that we don’t know who they are, what they are, how they are,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward), speaking about the Johnson administration moving asylum seekers into his ward without prior notification.
Furious that some are being housed at a police station that is also a sex offender registry, Beale used a procedural maneuver to send Mayor Johnson’s priorities to the Rules Committee.
“I sent a message to their administration that you’re not going to continue to disrespect my community. They sent a busload of migrants to my ward over the weekend with no advance notice and no communication,” Beale said.
After the meeting, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd Ward) was annoyed. She wants the alders focused on homelessness.
“We are all aware of the massive crisis we have in Chicago, the crisis of unhoused people that’s getting worse by the minute,” she said.
Under Illinois law, municipalities must ask voters to approve any restructuring of real estate transfer taxes. Supporters, such as Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th Ward), hopes to take Johnson’s proposal to voters soon.
“At the end of the day, we’re asking the voters, ‘Do you think that when someone purchases a home for less than a million dollars, they should pay less?’ Of course, the voters are going to say yes to that. And when we ask them, ‘Do you think that people buying properties over a million dollars should pay a little more so it can help fund homeless services?’ Of course, the voters are going to say yes to that.”
A final vote on an ordinance that requires tipped workers to get paid minimum wage was delayed until Friday due to an error by the Clerk’s office.
The alders fought about whether or not they would come back in 48 hours just for that. They will and the Clerk will provide coffee and donuts for the mistake.