Homeowners on the hook for $221 more per year in property taxes under Chicago Teachers Union demands

September 24, 2019

IPI experts available to discuss how union demands would cost taxpayers more than $1.1B, compared to $216M for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposal.

CHICAGO (Sept. 24, 2019) – While Chicago Teachers Union members begin voting today to authorize a third strike in seven years, Chicago homeowners brace for the cost of their next contract.

Analysis from the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute shows union contact demands would cost Chicago taxpayers more than $1.1 billion over three years, compared to $216 million for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposal. That means if Mayor Lightfoot gave into CTU’s full requests and funded it entirely through property taxes, the typical Chicago homeowner would pay $221 more on their property tax bills next year than they would have under her original offer.

The union could walk out of schools as soon as Monday, Oct. 7.

Experts from the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute are available for media interviews in Chicago, Springfield and across Illinois.


  • CTU is demanding a contract with requirements such as annual 5% raises over three years and 4,000 new support staff.
  • Union demands would take the average teacher salary from about $79,000 to just below $100,000 when step increases are factored in. Meanwhile, the median household income in Chicago is $52,497.
  • If funded entirely by property taxes, CTU’s demands would cost the typical Chicago homeowner $221 more than Mayor Lightfoot’s recommendations would’ve cost them.
  • CTU strikes have been among the largest government worker strikes in the country.

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

“Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered a contract that was more than generous. The dichotomy between her proposal and CTU demands showcase how unrealistic and unfair they are. CTU stacks the deck against the typical family in Chicago who has already seen their property tax bills rise faster than their home values and incomes during the past 10 years. Many families face an impossible choice – try to make their own finances work in a city where greed, corruption and incompetence has made taxpayers liable for millions of dollars in debt, or move away.

“Ultimately, this is a political power play intended to establish dominance over a new mayor while ignoring the needs of Chicago’s students and families.”

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977