Chicago Teachers Union demands ignore residents’ ability to pay

October 3, 2019

Property tax collections for CPS have grown nearly twice as fast as the typical Chicago household income

CHICAGO (Oct. 3, 2019) – The Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to strike Oct. 17 ignores the economic realities of the vast majority of Chicago families.

CTU’s $1.1 billion in contract demands will affect residents who already face the possibility of another property tax hike to fill the city’s $838 million budget hole. Even without any new demands, Chicago Public Schools’ existing debt has continued to rise despite increased taxpayer contributions.

An Illinois Policy Institute analysis found property tax collections for CPS grew nearly twice as fast as the typical Chicago household income since 2009. Meanwhile, CPS debt grew more than six times faster than household income.

While the average Chicago worker makes $63,500, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s offer to CTU would increase the average teacher salary from $79,000 to almost $100,000 over five years, including annual step increases.


  • If Lightfoot and CPS give in into CTU’s demands and fund them all through property taxes, the typical Chicago homeowner could pay $221 more in the first year compared to Lightfoot’s initial offer.
  • Chicagoans pay the fourth highest property tax rate of the nation’s largest cities.
  • At 10.25%, Chicagoans pay the highest sales tax rate in the nation. That includes Cook County sales tax, which increased by a full percentage point to 1.75% in 2016.
  • In 2017, Illinoisans endured the largest permanent income tax hike in the state’s history.
  • Chicagoans just shouldered $864 million in property tax hikes and fee increases, including those for water, sewage and 911 calls, during the last four years of the Emanuel administration.
  • Chicagoans also share the burden of 20 new or increased state tax and fee hikes totaling $4.6 billion annually, which Illinois lawmakers passed earlier this year.

Quote from Adam Schuster, budget and tax research director for the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute:

“Taxpayers in Chicago are tapped out. They’ve endured near-constant tax and fee hikes, after years of fiscal mismanagement at the state and local levels. The contract the Chicago Teachers Union is demanding ignores this recent history and unfairly pushes higher costs onto city residents.

“Mayor Lightfoot has offered a package that is generous to teachers, while still trying to be considerate of taxpayers. The contract must reflect economic reality and what Chicagoans can afford.”

For more information on how CTU’s demands ignore Chicago’s economic reality, visit:

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