Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to give final approval to a 2020 city budget that includes creating a new reparations fund to receive revenue from a new tax on recreational cannabis sales.

The budget, with the reparations fund included, was unanimously approved for introduction last week.

A three-member aldermanic subcommittee has yet to present a report on how money in the fund designed to provide reparations for slavery, redlining and other forms of discrimination against blacks, would be spent.

But Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, who has led the campaign for the fund, has said she wants a “solutions only” approach that would emphasize encouraging minority business startups and other economic empowerment activities.

The cannabis tax — which won’t go into effect until July — is anticipated to yield $250,000 in revenue in 2020. Rue Simmons has said her goal is to fund $10 million in programs from the fund over the span of a decade and that she wants to encourage private contributions to the fund from businesses and individuals to supplement the tax revenue.

The City Council is also scheduled tonight to adopt an array of tax levies to help fund the overall budget that totals nearly $321 million before subtracting interfund transfers and to approve creation of two special service area taxing districts for shopping areas along Central Street.

Also on the agenda is the creation of a new liquor license category designed to permit expanded liquor sales at Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan arena. The university will still need to apply for a license to make use of the new license category.

The City Council sessions tonight start with an Administration and Public Works Committee meeting at 6 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Reparations

    Police and fire pensions are less than 50% funded.  Last year fire station 4 was nearly closed due to budgetary constraints.

    Maybe the cannabis tax should be used to fund our police and fire services that protect all Evanstonians?

    1. The fleecing of Evanston

      Well, I’ve called the mayor and the council, started a letter toting campaign. Fell on deaf ears, I guess it’s time to leave Evanston. This reparation is illegal and unfair to all the other races in Evanston, and will just lead to animosity among the races. They are in “awe” because how ill-conceived this idea is.

  2. Reparations–who will fund it

    From the federal government:

    Alcohol use disorder was comparable between, and most prevalent among, Whites and Hispanics compared to African Americans, whereas marijuana use disorder was greatest among African Americans compared to other race/ethnicities. Co-occurring alcohol and marijuana use disorders were most prevalent for African Americans versus Whites and Hispanics, and similar in Whites and Hispanics. In general, major depressive episode was more prevalent for respondents with co-occurring use disorders or single marijuana use disorders. However, race/ethnicity differences in associations between substance use disorder and psychosocial correlates and adverse consequences were observed.

  3. The tax revenue generated
    The tax revenue generated will be a drop in the bucket compared to the attorney fees it will cost to defend this unconstitutional and brazenly discriminatory legislation.

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