Rev. Jackson Supports Gas Tax Proposed To Combat Violence

The reverend is supporting a gas tax aimed at combatting gun violence

Rev. Jesse Jackson is backing an effort proposed by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin to use a gas tax to create jobs for youth as a means to combat gun violence.

"I believe the antidote to the zone of crisis is jobs, skill trades training and education- the opposite of policing the problem,” Jackson said in a statement.

The legislation would rely on a 4-cents-per-gallon tax increase on gasoline. The tax money would be used to create the Cook County Jobs Council, which would be composed of county officials and local business leaders.

Jackson held a press conference Friday at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to pledge his support for the Community Stabilization & Anti-Violence Act. He was joined by Boykin, St. Sabina Fr. Michael Pfleger, Chicago Urban League President Shari Runner and former head of DEA Peter Bensinger.

"We are in a state of emergency, a real crisis," Boykin said. "We have come up with this plan to stay on the offensive, if you will."

The council would be responsible for identifying areas in the county with high unemployment among 16-24 year olds and creating jobs for them.

The legislation is also aimed at using the Justice Advisory Council to train parents using a message that emphasizes zero-tolerance for violence.

Under the plan, the Office for People with Disabilities would be established as a way of meeting the needs and advancing the well-being of people with disabilities.

“The increase in gunshot victims in Cook County has led to a greater number of individuals becoming permanently disabled,” the summary reads. “The Office will provide a strong voice for people with disabilities and connect them to available County resources.”

The legislation would also create a Community Policing Initiative to improve the relationship between communities and the law enforcement departments that police them. The initiative would be overseen by Sheriff Dart.

"This isn't something that is just the City of Chicago, it's not," Dart said. "It's throughout the county and the county is craving the same thing, a thoughtful jobs program. And it is the only thing that is going to solve this."

Funds from the tax would be used to hire 15 new Sheriff’s police officers to serve neighborhoods with high violence.

All told, the effort would put more than $45 million towards jobs programs and another five million for policing, parenting and people with disabilities.

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