- THE ILLINOIS -
Copyright, 1948, by The Illinois Progressive Publishing Company
VOL. 1, NO. 21 ‘wiekif ***618 CHICAGO, JANUARY 29, 1949 5 CENTS
Flash fires k:ll 39 — Why?
By Rod . olmgren
Six Chicagoans — three of
them children — lost their
lives in an early morning fire
last Saturday at 549-551 E.
The tragedy, bringing to 39
the number of tenement fire
deaths in recent weeks, drama
tized almost criminal failure of
two divisions in Chicago’s city
government to enforce provi
sions of the city’s municipal
Facts uncovered by the Illi
nois Standard indicate that in
addition to the clear need for
action against landlords of Chi
cago’s several hundred firetrap
tenements, the following agen
cies are wide open to charges
of negligence contributing to
Chicago’s soaring fire-death rate:
• The license division of the
Municipal Court, whose judges
for years have failed to enforce
the health and fire safeguards
of the code by levying a $25-a
day fine against delinquent land
lords until they correct viola
• The Building Department, 24
of whose 51 inspectors are pre
cinct captains or enjoy other
kinds of political immunity.
There were almost 60 persons,
including 21 children, crammed
into the tiny corners of the 44th
street building, a three-story
structure that had been sub-di
vided and then re-subdivided in
recent years into 9 apartments.
Rev. Joseph Moore, assistant
pastor of the Cleveland Baptist
Church at 4508 St. Lawrence st.,
who resided in one of the base
ment fiats and who was the first
to discover the fire, told a Stan
dard reporter he had reported
the building’s condition to the
city building department a year
The rear stairway was unsafe,
with several steps missing, nar
row casement and landings, and
littered with garbage. The rear
exit from the basement had not
been used in many months, be
cause it was blocked with debris.
Sections 48 to 54 and 60 to 63
in the Chicago Building Code
provide that every home above
the first floor must have two
exits, stairways and doorways
must be at least three feet wide,
stairways and doorways must be
kept clear, and dangerous or
Continued or page 7
CONSUMERS PAY STATE
TAXB rich RIDE FREE
WITH great pleasure we introduce the National
Guardian, the progressive weekly newspaper
which has won so many thousands of friends in the
few short months since it was horn last fall.
Starting next week, the National Guardian is going
to be YOUR newspaper.
The Guardian counts among its frequent con
tributors such authoritative writers and public figures
as Elmer Benson, Norman Mailer, Henry Wallace, Dr.
Frederick Schuman, Johannes Steel, Kumar Goshal,
Paul Robeson, Earl Conrad, James Dugan, Max Werner,
John Lardner, Clyde Miller, Anna Louise Strong, Ella
Winter, as well as many correspondents abroad who
write exclusively for the Guardian.
Edited by Cedric Belfrage, James Aronson and
John T. McManus, the National Guardian features news
the rest of the press refuses to print, such as bringing
to national attention the long-censored story of six
Negroes condemned to die in New Jersey for a crime
they did not commit.
The Guardian is planning a series of regional edi
tions, including a Midwest Edition. This means that
in addition to the excellent national and international
features regularly carried in the Guardian, Chicago
and Illinois readers will also get coverage and analysis
of news breaking in their own backyard.
Effective with this issue, the Illinois Standard is
making way for the more complete coverage repre
sented by the Guardian.
We are proud to announce completion of arrange
ments for the National Guardian to serve Standard
subscribers for the rest of their subscription terms,
taking into account the fact that Guardian sub
scriptions are $4.00 a year, while Standard subs have
So starting Monday, Feb. 7, you will receive the
National Guardian, jam-packed with news and com
ment written by progressives for progressives, every j
week, unless you indicate otherwise.
We look upon this as a forward step toward uni- i
fication of the progressive press into a single, hard
hitting “package.” We know you join us in that con
LEADS REPEAL FIGHT. Senator
Claude Pepper (D. Fla.) has
served notice that he will lead
in the fight in the upper house
for immediate repeal of the
Taft-Hartley law and reenact
ment of the Wagner Act.
to demand 'no
Illinois citizens will demand
payoff on campaign promises to
wipe out Jim Crow when they
join in an historic national as
sembly in Washington Feb. 11
With the active support of
the Progressive Party an im
pressive list of local sponsors for
the rally is being gathered for
Initiated by Dr. W. E. B. Du
Bois and five other top Negro
leaders, the mass demonstration
for passage of federal civil
rights legislation has an ex
t r e m e 1 y broad sponsorship.
Chairman of the preliminary
meeting will be Dr. J. Finley
Wilson, head of the Elks frater
Among the prominent persons
endorsing the project are Dr.
Mary McLeod Bethune, Natl.
Council of Negro Women; Deems
Taylor, music critic; Lester
Granger, Natl. Urban League.
By Bernie Asbel
The man who works for wages is paying the fare
for a virtually free tax ride by million-dollar corporations
Inquiries by the ILLINOIS STANDARD into who pays
for state government have just disclosed the following
• More than 75 cents of every state tax dollar comes
from levies aimed at consumers.
• In one typical plant, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Peoria,
annual sales taxes paid by all the workers is close to 20
times the tax bill paid direct to the state by their em
ployer-company. Yet the company is known to have
shown a profit of more than $10 million last year.
The heaviest single chunk of state income, the direct
sales tax, developed this week as the object of a political
tug of war, as:
• Gov. Stevenson's new finance chief, George W. Mit
chell disclosed plans to make the sales tax an even heavi
er levy. He lamented exemptions for barbering, tailor
ing, auto repairs, prescriptions, books, magazines, and
• The Progressive Party launched a downstate petition
campaign to wipe out the sales tax and substitute a
graduated income tax with high personal exemption to
exclude the average wage earner.
That the great bulk of state income derives from
the plain consumer is shown by state admission that
76% cents of every tax dollar comes from: sales tax,
motor fuel, motor licenses, cigarettes and old age bene
fit kickbacks from the Federal government after payroll
The sales tax itself brings in 36 percent of state
funds. It was passed originally in 1933 as an emergency
measure when the state was nearly bankrupt while faced
with mass demands for unemployment relief.
During its first full year of operation, 1934 the sales
tax pennies totaled $38,609,000. Though the reason for
first creating the tax was re
moved years ago, the tax has re
mained and grown to where
consumers shelled out $171,021,
000 last year.
Nearly $1,000 has been paid
out by each of the estimated
1,800,000 Illinois families in the
15-year operation of the tax, for
a grand total of nearly a billion
and a half dollars.
How the sales levy shifts the
burden of tax to the wage earn
er is particularly shown by the
Caterpillar Tractor example.
This company was chosen be
cause it is one of few large cor
porations, the bulk of whose
assets are within the state.
There, 16,000 workers each
pay a minimum estimate of $40
per year in sales taxes. This
totals $640,000 for all the work
ers in the plant.
In contrast with this $640,000,
the company pays an estimated
$34,000 franchise tax, the only
levy made directly by the state
against corporations. Nor do in
dividual executives and stock
holders pay any state tax for the
large dividends they extract
from the company.
Real estate taxes are paid to
Continued on page 8
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