Mayor responds to CPS budget raising property taxes

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The Chicago Public School Board approved a budget to raise property taxes to fund teacher pensions. The mayor stayed quiet after the decision until now. (WLS)

On Wednesday, the Chicago Public School Board approved a budget to raise property taxes to fund teacher pensions. It was a decision that infuriated taxpayers.

On days like Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is known for keeping a low profile. He resurfaced Thursday and could not avoid questions about that tax increase and the city's crime wave.

The mayor's resumed public schedule included breaking ground for a new innovation hub at the historic Illinois Institute of Technology.

"The story of Chicago is a story written in many ways written here on this campus," he said.

Emanuel was asked about Wednesday's school board vote to raise property taxes to pay teacher pensions. The increase comes only months after aldermen approved a record hike in the city's levy on homeowners to replenish the police and firefighter retirement systems.

"There's a cost to doing nothing," Emanuel said. "We saw that across the city and it has a tremendous cost to the future of the city."

Earlier, the mayor helped young players and others launch construction of a tennis center on the Southside where only a few years ago stood impoverished, high-rise public housing.

"This will be the new home of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation and we are calling it the XS Tennis Village," Kamau Murray, XS Tennis member, said.

From there, Emanuel mourned at the funeral service for 19-year-old Arshell Dennis, a police officer's son and college student who was shot and killed last week during a visit home.

South Carolina Sheriff Alex Underwood, a national black on black crime authority, toured violence-wracked Englewood neighborhood.

"Outside of Chicago, the word is it's a bad area, bad place to be, bad law enforcement, that type of stuff," he said.

The mayor was asked about the latest crime in his neighborhood--a woman mugged in Ravenswood--on the street where he lives.

"As somebody who has a son who was also robbed, mugged. Wherever it happens it concerns me," he said.

There are still no arrests in that Ravenswood mugging that happened despite the 24-7 police surveillance at the mayor's home.
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