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Chicago Teachers Union eyes potential transfer tax money


(The Center Square) – Chicago voters who support a proposed tax referendum may end up funding the Chicago Teachers Union instead of the homeless.

CTU has campaigned aggressively in favor of the real-estate transfer tax increase on properties worth more than $1 million. The purpose stated by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is to address homelessness.

Mailee Smith, senior director of Labor Policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, said the teachers union plans to hijack the transfer tax hike if it passes.

“Internal documents indicate that it’s [the Chicago Teachers Union] kicking off its housing demands through Johnson’s tax-hike initiative. Its top demand that it listed is financial assistance for CTU members to live and work in the city,” Smith said.

The transfer tax referendum is on the ballot in Chicago’s primary election on March 19, but early voting has already begun.

As voters consider the measure, Johnson’s connection with CTU is under scrutiny when it comes to the potential tax revenue.

Smith said nothing binds the city and the mayor to use the transfer-tax money in a certain way.

“This can just become a slush fund for Johnson’s friends at Chicago Teachers Union,” Smith said.

Smith added that, time and time again, the mayor has failed to distance himself from CTU.

“This union is the one that handpicked him and then bankrolled him into office. They see this as their chance to get anything that they want at the bargaining table,” Smith said.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s contract with the city expires in June.

The tax referendum is on the ballot in Chicago’s primary election on March 19. Early voting is underway.