CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that an additional $1.5 million recovered from scofflaws who owed debt to the city will be used to fund nearly 500 youth job opportunities this year through community organizations across Chicago. These additional funds are on top of the $8.5 million already collected as a result of state legislation and an ordinance passed by City Council in February that allows the city to collect outstanding debt owed by Illinois residents by deducting it from their state income tax returns.
“By ensuring that those who break the law are held accountable, we are able to investing in job opportunities that will keep our kids off the streets and better prepare them for the future,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These bonus funds will help Chicago’s youth by creating nearly 500 additional job opportunities that will help them develop important skills, personal interactions and financial responsibility that can make all the difference in guiding them down the right path.”
The $1.5 million in the remaining funds collected will be distributed to 11 organizations in communities across the city, including West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, Lawndale, Austin, Auburn-Gresham, Washington Park, South Shore, Englewood, Roseland, and Little Village. The organizations providing the job opportunities include YAP, Inc., the Allison United Center, the JLM Center, Lawndale Christian Development Center, Bethel New Life, St. Sabina Employment Resource Center, KLEO, Black United Fund, Liberated, Roseland Community Hospital and St. John Baptist Church.
“These job opportunities will go a long way toward helping Chicago’s youth stand on their own two feet working in their communities and building a strong foundation that will lead to a brighter future,” said Saint Sabina Pastor Michael Pfleger.
Earlier this year, Mayor Emanuel announced that an initial $8.5 million collected would fund nearly 20,000 summer program and job opportunities as well as 50 new cadets in the 2012 Chicago police academy class. The Chicago City Council approved the use of the new tool effective immediately on February 15, 2012. Of the more than 28,000 scofflaws that will have their income tax returns deducted for debt they owe, 55 percent of them - 15,671 - are not Chicago residents. The new collection tool has helped the City collect a total of $11 million.
“Since day one of this administration, we have pledged to improve the way the City collects its debt so that the honest Chicago taxpayers who play by the rules aren’t left holding the bag,” said City Comptroller Amer Ahmad. “Through more efficient and innovative approaches we have already seen significant success. We will continue to aggressively collect debt and encourage those who owe debt to sign up to get on a payment plan.”
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