Q: Chicago's fire and police pensions are greatly underfunded, and the city is required by the state to make a $550 million payment into the pension funds by the end of 2015.Do you support restructuring the pension systems, inevitably reducing benefits, to put the funds on sound financial footing?
Yes or No:
Please Explain: No. These public servants have dedicated their time and lives to the city and we need to keep that same dedication towards them and honor our financial commitments.We will meet our obligations by encouraging economic development, ensuring money is being spent where it is supposed to be spent, correcting our inefficiencies and also evaluating the current investment strategy.
Q: Chicago's pension systems for municipal workers and laborers already have been restructured, reducing benefits, but the city has yet to identify where it will find the revenue to sufficiently fund those systems. Under what circumstances would you support a property tax increase to raise the needed revenue for the fire and police pensions and/or the municipal workers and laborers pensions?
A: I would support adjusting some tax breaks and/or incentives to resource rich corporations to come up with the additional funding for the pension.
2) Chicago Public Schools pensions
Q: Large and growing payments required to keep the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund solvent are squeezing CPS' budget, forcing cuts elsewhere and limiting investment. The Chicago Board of Education has increased property taxes, but it is not enough to keep up with the high annual costs. What measures do you support to ensure a solvent retirement system and to improve the district's finances?
A: I believe our issues are caused by mismanaged spending and waste. A focus on transparency,monetary inefficiencies and economic development would yield the funds necessary to meet our financial obligations
Q: In light of the financial issues discussed above, do you support any or all of the following measures, each of which would require, at a minimum, approval by the Illinois Legislature?
* A statewide expansion of the sales tax base to include more consumer services Yes or No:
Yes, If the consumer services are primarily used by the well off and wealthy.
* A tax on non-Chicago residents who work in the city.
Yes, I am in support of a tax on non-Chicago residents who work in the city. I believe it would encourage residency within city limits. However, I would waive the tax if a person makes below a certain threshold
* A tax on electronic financial transactions on Chicago’s trading exchanges, known as the “LaSalle Street tax”
Yes or No: Not at this time. I would like to further discuss and evaluate all options surrounding the “LaSalle Street Tax”. There may be some discussion topics of interest to both parties that will not necessarily end up being an additional tax.
Please explain your views, if you wish, on any of these three revenue-generating measures.
Q: Do you support hiring more police officers to combat crime and gun violence in Chicago?
Yes or No: Yes I Do.
Please explain:Yes but only in addition to more extensive training including enhanced non-violent conflict resolution, cultural awareness, civil rights and implementation of CPAC. I am grateful for our officers and wish for their safety as they protect us but I also worry about the unarmed youth that get gunned down with no consequence. As a young African American male this issue really hits home. There are too many examples of what I would consider police brutality and abuse of power for me to feel comfortable about flooding the 20th Ward with more officers without the enhanced trainings and civilian oversight.
Q: What legislation in Springfield would you support to try to stem the flow of illegal guns into Chicago?
A: Criminals do not care about laws we create. If a person want to carry/use a gun, they will find a way. The best a legislator can offer is positive opportunity that would quash the demand for illegal guns into Chicago. I would support increasing public school budgets, allocation of funds to vocational programs, increasing budgets and access to mental health facilities.
5) Elected school board
Q: An advisory referendum on switching Chicago to an elected school board, rather than an appointed board, is expected to be on the ballot in more than 30 wards on Feb.24. Currently, the mayor appoints all seven board members and the Schools CEO. Do you support a change to an elected school board?
Yes or No: Yes
Please explain: The board needs to be accountable to the executive branch but most importantly to the citizens of the city.
6) Tax increment financing districts
Q: TIFs are the primary economic development tool of the city. In a TIF district, taxes from the growth in property values are set aside for 23 years to be used for public projects and private development. Do you support increasing the annual TIF surplus that the mayor and the City Council have declared in each of the last few years, money that goes to the schools and other city agencies?
Yes or No:Yes
Q: What reforms would you propose for the city's TIF program?
1. Enhanced inclusionary methods
2. More stringent, transparent and publicly documented oversight
3. Implement an ongoing impact study to asses the effectiveness of current TIFs
4. Public monitoring of RFPs submitted for access to capital and deal flow generated by the TIF
5. Additional funds are reallocated and invested in the TIF district of origin.
7) Neighborhood economic development
Q: What would you do as alderman to boost economic development in your ward, and bring jobs to your community?
I would begin with a study to analyze the demographic and income information of the 20th Ward and begin engaging companies. I would highlight the wonderful resources in the community including world class museums, recreation, hospitals, a world class university in a community that produces world class employees to take on the globalizing economy. I would demonstrate that the 20th ward is prime real estate with 2 Metra Lines, 2 CTA train lines, access to 3 major expressways minutes from downtown and a short 20 min drive to an international airport. Its an excellent transportation hub ripe for new industries in need of access to a world class railroad.
8) Size of the Chicago City Council
Q: The City Council has 50 members, but civic groups and other regularly argue for reducing the size of the Council. What should the size of the Council be? Please provide a specific number. And why?
City Council should not be reduced. It would further muffle the voice of need in the community.If any adjustments are made to City Hall, the number of members should be increased. 76members would allow proper representation from each community.
9) A Chicago casino
Q: Do you support, in general concept, establishing a gambling casino in Chicago?
Yes or No: Yes, it would depend on the placement of the casino and supportive initiatives for those addicted to gambling.
Please explain: When making the decision to allow gambling in the city, I believe we need to assess the benefits/drawbacks to the community, the available permanent jobs and the demand of the infrastructure in the area.
If the a. benefits outweigh the drawbacks, b. there are supportive services in place for potential gambling addicts and c. the location will not further contribute to traffic congestion / accidents or to quickly degrade current infrastructure. I would seriously consider supporting a gambling casino in Chicago
10) Red light and speed cameras
Q: Does the city have an acceptable number of red light and speed cameras currently,and are they properly employed?
Yes or No:We have too many and they are improperly employed.
Please explain: The people do not want them in the community. Why do we continue to build more? Further more, they don’t curb driver behavior in a positive fashion. People either slam on the breaks or speed up to make the light. These initiatives need to be reassessed for more desirable results.
11) Ward issues
Q: What are the top three issues in your ward — the ones you talk about most on the campaign trail?
1. Lack of access to city services 2. Employment
Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board questionnaire responses
Office running for: Alderman, 20th Ward
Education: Homewood Flossmoor High School, University of Illinois at Champaign
Campaign website: www.electkevinbailey.com
Kevin Bailey is endorsed by the Sun-Times Editorial Board. Read the endorsement here.