CTBA Staff

Ralph Martire

CTBA Executive Director and Arthur Rubloff Endowed Professor of Public Policy at Roosevelt University

Ralph Martire is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (“CTBA”), a bipartisan 501(c)(3) think tank committed to ensuring that state, federal and local workforce, education, fiscal, economic and budget policies are fair and just, and promote opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity or income class. He is also the Rubloff Professor of Public Policy at Roosevelt University. During his time at CTBA, Ralph has helped obtain numerous legislative successes (including passage of the Evidence Based Model of Education Funding in FY2018, a state Earned Income Tax Credit, creation of a bipartisan legislative task force to integrate workforce and economic development policies, passage of the 2011 Temporary Tax Increases, corporate accountability legislation that, among other things, requires public reporting of economic development benefits created through receipt of tax breaks and other subsidies, decoupling Illinois tax policy from both the federal bonus depreciation rules and the federal repeal of the estate tax).

In 2018, Ralph was appointed to serve on the legislatively established “Professional Review Panel,” charged with monitoring the implementation of Illinois’ new evidence-based school funding formula. He was also appointed to the Transition Team of Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker.  In 2011-2013, Ralph served as a full voting commissioner on the Congressionally-established “Equity and Excellence in Education Commission,” which was housed in the Federal Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division. In addition to his professorship at Roosevelt University, he has taught fiscal policy seminars and education finance courses for various universities and the International Fulbright Scholar Program.

Ralph has received numerous awards for his work on education policy reform, including: being named River Forest’s Co-Villager of the Year by the Wednesday Journal for his work promoting equity in District 90, where he serves as school board president; the 2007 Champion of Freedom Award, presented by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to individuals whose professional work embodies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, commitment to equal educational opportunities; and the Ben C. Hubbard Leadership Award given by Illinois State University to individuals who have greatly benefited education in Illinois. He also received the Adlai Stevenson Award for Public Service presented by the American Society for Public Administration to honor one individual with a connection to the Chicago area that has made outstanding contributions to government and public administration over an extended period of time. Ralph is also a regular columnist on education, fiscal and economic policy for the State Journal Register, the Daily Herald, and The News Gazette.

He received his B.A. in History with highest honors from Indiana University, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan.

Tracy A. Schonberger

Administrative Director

Tracy Schonberger is the Administrative Director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, with over fifteen years of administration and management experience.  Tracy has been on staff at CTBA since its inception in 1999 and manages the overall daily office operations, including office management, technology, human resources, and contract management. Prior to joining CTBA, she was a legal secretary during which time she worked with Ralph Martire. Tracy’s time in the legal sector provided her with tremendous organizational and computer skills that has equipped her with the expertise necessary to meet the time sensitive nature of CTBA's work.

Daniel Kay Hertz

Research Director

Daniel Kay Hertz joined CTBA in July 2015 as a Senior Policy Analyst and was promoted to Research Director in September 2017. Daniel's work includes, but is not be limited to, housing, budget, tax and fiscal policy issues at both the state and national levels. He also contributes to CTBA’s social media platform.  Prior to joining CTBA, Daniel worked as a Senior Fellow with City Observatory, a virtual urban policy think tank. In that capacity and as a freelancer, he has written about urban issues at outlets like The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Planning, Chicago Magazine, and the Chicago Reader.

Daniel graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School in 2015, and a BA in Government from Harvard University in 2010.

Sydney Smith

Development Director

Sydney Smith is the Development Director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, joining the team in September 2017. Sydney’s work includes managing foundation and corporation relationships, individual giving, and special events for CTBA. She also oversees all donor communication and supports CTBA's marketing strategies. 

Prior to joining CTBA, Sydney worked in development at the Chicago Urban League, as well as Casa Central. She also managed development and communications at the Frances Willard House Museums & Archives.

She is a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), the Association of Fundraising Professions (AFP), and the Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP). Sydney holds a Bachelors of English from the University of Iowa, and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Chicago Film Archives.

Drazzel Feliu

Research Associate

Drazzel Feliu joined CTBA as a full-time Research Associate in June 2019. Drazzel's areas of expertise include housing and general tax policy. He specializes in statistical evaluation and geospatial analysis. For the past year, Drazzel has served as a research intern at CTBA. He previously worked as a research assistant at the University of Chicago - Harris School and as a support operator at Ogilvy & Mather. Prior to that, he worked as a business analyst at Sterling Information Systems. Drazzel graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy in 2019 and with a certificate in municipal finance and a BA in Economics from Fordham University in 2013. 

Eliana Yun

Research Intern

Eliana Yun is an MPP candidate at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Prior to Harris, Eliana worked as a research analyst in an investment bank/brokerage firm, developing analytical reports on the US Economy and the Municipal Bond Market. Eliana holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she spent a great time doing research on Monetary Policy for a competition at the Federal Reserve Bank at Chicago. Her research topics and interests are Macroeconomics, Municipal Finance, Economic Development, Social Inequality, and Sustainability.  Eliana will intern as a research associate for the period beginning June 18, 2019 through September, 2019.