Chicago Mayor refuses to clarify if he will raise taxes to deal with migrant crisis

Republican governors, including Texas' Greg Abbott, have sent asylum seekers to Democratic-led sanctuary cities like Chicago, exacerbating local pressures. This move is seen as an effort to showcase the migrant surge's impact on border states.

Chicago Mayor refuses to clarify if he will raise taxes to deal with migrant crisis
AP Photo/David Banks
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Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, faced with managing an escalating migrant crisis, has highlighted the challenge's unsustainability, calling for increased federal support.

Republican governors, including Texas' Greg Abbott, have sent asylum seekers to Democratic-led sanctuary cities like Chicago, exacerbating local pressures. This move is seen as an effort to showcase the migrant surge's impact on border states, Fox News reported.

In a CBS Chicago interview, reporter Sabrina Franza questioned Mayor Johnson about the financial strain on Chicagoans due to the migrant crisis. She highlighted voters' frustrations regarding perceived neglect of their needs in favor of foreign migrants. Johnson responded by emphasizing the long-standing disinvestment in Black and Brown communities and the need for a federal solution to the global migrant crisis.

"When we talk to voters, a lot of times they'll voice concerns about being frustrated that they don't think your administration is hearing them because of the money that's being spent on the migrant crisis that they're not seeing. It seems like this money is just appearing out of thin air but isn't being invested in their own communities," Franza said. "Why do you think they feel that way?"

Johnson replied to say that because "Black and Brown neighborhoods, and particularly Black communities," have been "dis-invested" in," and asked the interview to "keep in mind that the migrant crisis, this international global crisis, really requires a federal resource response."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams echoed similar sentiments, returning from Washington D.C. without immediate federal support. He warned of the grim reality that help is not forthcoming in the near future.

Franza pressed Johnson on Chicago's financial strategy to handle the crisis, questioning potential tax increases to fund migrant support. Johnson deflected, focusing on his administration's efforts to tackle homelessness and other local issues without resorting to budget cuts. He remained non-committal on introducing new taxes, reiterating the federal government's responsibility in addressing the crisis.

When asked directly about raising taxes, Johnson avoided a definitive answer, pointing to the parallel situation of housing Ukrainian refugees and questioning the differing treatment of asylum seekers from Central and South America.

"Well, you know, I think people are clearly familiar with what my vision is for revenue in this city, and my revenue, of course, is committed to making sure that we are doing everything we can to address the unhoused crisis in this city," said Johnson in a noncommittal response. "Seventy thousand people are unhoused in this city are Black families, and that’s why I invested a quarter of a billion dollars in my budget to do just that."

Fox News transcribed the interview:

"But will you add a tax to help pay for the migrant crisis?" Franza pressed. 

"Here’s what I’ve said repeatedly," he began, noting that Chicago's migrant situation is part of an "international crisis." 

Franza interjected, "And we’ve heard you say that."

"Okay, so you know the answer then," Johnson replied. 

"Well, no, because the answer I asked for is ‘Are you adding a tax?’" Franza inquired.

"The answer is the federal government has to do its job," Johnson said.

"Well, what if they don’t?" Franza asked.

...

"So you can commit to you not raising property taxes, regardless of how bad the situation gets?" Franza asked.

"My budget, the $16.77 billion that I just passed, 41 alders I believe supported this budget-" Johnson said.

"So is that a ‘Yes?’" Franza asked.

Johnson continued, "And we did all of that without raising property taxes, the evidence is in what I passed, we made all of these investments without raising property taxes. That’s the commitment that I made when I ran, that’s the commitment that I kept." 

 

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