USA: Polonia fears for security and high taxes after the election of a new mayor of Chicago


Brandon Johnson was sworn in as the new mayor of Chicago on Monday. The Polish community there is concerned about the city’s declared security policy and the prospect of tax increases.

The president of the KPA department for the state of Illinois, Mirosław Niedziński, called Johnson’s choice a great surprise in an interview with PAP. He noted that the leader in the joust for the mayoral office seemed to be Paul Vallas, “an excellent manager”, an advisor to Chicago’s public schools.

“Polonia, based on the programs of both candidates, supported Vallas. Unfortunately, too few people voted and he lost by 49 to 51 percent. We believe that we are facing a difficult period in terms of security in the city and the prospect of high taxes,” said Mirosław Niedziński, president of the KPA’s Illinois Department.

He expressed concern that the new mayor’s program might be similar to that of his predecessor, Lori E. Lightfoot. He pointed out that crime was largely tolerated at the time.

“During the previous four years of murder, theft and burglary, time was devoted to the perpetrators of the crime rather than to the victims. Many times the murderers were released or punished minimally. Let’s hope we’re wrong, but in my opinion and in the opinion of many Poles, a similar philosophy will take place in the next four years,’ said Niedziński.

He justified his concern about the fact that there had been serious riots in the city center a few weeks ago. Several hundred young hooligans smashed windows and overturned cars. The police have their hands tied and cannot interfere. Many officers resign from their jobs due to this, ping e.g. for early retirement, described Niedziński.

Despite the outrage, Brandon Johnson said these people have the right to protest. They are hungry, unappreciated. (…) They will not be punished because they had a reason to demonstrate their frustration and dissatisfaction in this way. If someone is a shop owner, a tourist and is in the middle of such a commotion, it’s hard to feel safe” – noted the head of the KPA.

In his opinion, the mayor’s agenda will also require a large increase in taxes. This applies to e.g. real estate.

“The Polish diaspora group is known for having the largest number of shops and private houses. Poles do not like to rent, but rather want to be owners. They already pay astronomically high property taxes. We are afraid that as part of paying for very left-wing programs, Poles will be victims of further tax hikes,” explained Niedziński, predicting that they could increase by 40-60 percent.

Referring to taxes, he also emphasized that their increase may hit especially hard at retirees whose income is mainly from minimally increased social security pensions.

“Let’s hope Johnson’s staff will have some influence on him. Maybe his agenda will not turn out to be as radical as the one presented before the elections, security will be taken into account more and the mayor will approach the budget more rationally, (…) because taxes are the curse of Chicago,” essed Niedziński.

From New York Andrzej Dobrowolski (PAP)

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