“There are many reasons we are here, and many reasons that we can’t go back to where we were.
But this is what we have done.”
That was the closing message of one of the last days of the NFL’s Super Bowl festivities, which saw the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders all defeat the San Francisco 49ers in a wild and unpredictable contest.
This week, the city of Chicago’s largest employer, General Motors, announced it would build a massive factory in its own neighborhood in the heart of Chicago, which will include a $1 billion auto assembly plant that will be the second-largest plant in the world.
Chicago has a large number of auto plants that are not part of the city’s infrastructure, and the city is the largest auto producer in the country.
“Our goal is to create jobs, grow our economy, and create more wealth for the city,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at the announcement.
“We’re not doing it just for us.”
While the city did get its fair share of big announcements from the major corporations, there was also a huge announcement made from a local business owner.
Michael Fritsch, who owns the local chain Frits, announced on Facebook that he had decided to shutter his grocery store because he was tired of paying $10 an hour to people who worked in his store.
He has also said that he would rather pay employees $15 an hour than $15 and a half an hour, which he is currently paying his employees, in addition to other overtime, he said.
The company, Fritscons, employs nearly 2,000 people, mostly in the Chicago area.
The store will close this Friday, March 15, and will reopen in April.
In addition to the store closure, Frisch also announced plans to buy a building that has been vacant since it was purchased by a company called Chicago Bistro in 2009.
The building, a 7,600 square-foot building at 1523 W. Washington, will be used to build a “farmhouse restaurant” called Chicago Cuts, which has plans to open by the end of April.
The owners of Chicago Cutes, Dan and Laura Ostermeier, have not commented on the closure.
“This decision will be made by the company, but it will be done on the basis of our collective bargaining agreement, which means that I will have to pay the full amount of the lease, not just the amount of my wages,” Fritsh told the Tribune-Review.
The announcement of the building acquisition came just weeks after Chicago Mayor Emanuel said that the city was considering a tax hike that would raise the minimum wage from $8 to $10.00 per hour.
“It’s not just an issue of raising wages, it’s an issue about creating jobs for everyone, especially low-income workers,” Emanuel said.
“So this is a moment to come together and to find common ground on all of these issues.”
Emanuel also announced that he was proposing $30 million in tax credits to encourage businesses to hire more people, including $25,000 in tax breaks for companies that hire more than 10 people per day.
That includes companies that have more than 50 employees and have paid $25 million in payroll taxes in the last three years, he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The fact that we’re having to talk about this is an important reminder that this isn’t a new issue, it isn’t the beginning of the end,” Emanuel told the newspaper.
The mayor has said that, even with the $30-million in tax incentives, businesses are not going to move in.
“That’s the reality that businesses are in a position right now, they are not hiring, and they’re not hiring,” Emanuel stated.
“And so, as a city, we have to do everything we can to get them out of the way and to get their businesses back in.”
The city’s budget director, Jennifer Pender, told the Sun-Time that the mayor’s proposal is a “big deal,” adding that it is “not a new idea.”
“That $30 billion in tax credit is a lot of money, but the real reason why the mayor is pushing this is that it’s not new,” she said.