Mayor Lori Lightfoot Broadcasts Funds Deficit of $ 733 Million | Authorities and politics
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a budget deficit of $ 733 million on Wednesday, less than last year but still a major challenge as the city works to recover from the financial fallout from the pandemic.
Lightfoot is likely to make up the deficit through refinancing outstanding debt and using funds from the US federal bailout, as well as unspecified “efficiency” by the government, city officials said.
The mayor revealed the deficit shortly before her budget speech at the Chicago Cultural Center. She threw the gap optimistically and called it the “city’s recreational budget”.
“While we still have hard work ahead of us to fill this void, this number is a good sign that our city is financially recovering from this crisis,” said Lightfoot.
After announcing in a televised speech in August 2019 that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had put her on a $ 838 million deficit for 2020, Lightfoot said she had dealt with it by making structural changes like lowering government costs positions carried out through so-called zero-based budgeting and the elimination of vacancies.
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The mayor also turned to several one-off solutions to fill the void, rather than demanding large-scale revenue increases such as property tax increases that would have hit large swathes of Chicagoans and made politically difficult for the mayor.
Many lay judges were happy that there wasn’t a big hike in property tax for 2020 and passed their package at 39-11. But some of them wondered privately why she didn’t use her popularity because of her election victory and then push her way through a promotion instead of waiting until later in her term in office.
Last year, Lightfoot scored a relatively narrow but important victory when the city council passed its budget of $ 12.8 billion for 2021, based on a property tax hike and controversial debt refinancing, by a deficit of $ 1.2 billion -Dollars in their “pandemic budget” to close.
Much of this spending gap was the result of COVID-19, which paralyzed the economy.
City councils voted 28-22 to raise Lightfoot’s property tax by $ 94 million. The mayor’s full budget was also passed 29-21.
This budget also contained a provision to increase the property tax annually by an amount linked to the consumer price index. It increased gas taxes by 3 cents and relied on an increase in fines and fee collections, including a plan to increase revenue by ticketing residents caught by speed cameras crossing the 10 km / h limit.
Additionally, Lightfoot asked for a $ 501 million refinancing of the city debt for the 2021 budget, which would generate new revenue next year but would likely cost taxpayers more. Similar borrowing tactics under Mayors Richard M. Daley and Emanuel met with deep criticism.
Behind the scenes, Lightfoot worked hard to generate support for their budget. Speaking to the Black Caucus, Lightfoot told councilors that those who don’t support their budget shouldn’t expect their wards to be prioritized, adding, “Don’t come to me for s — for the next three years . ”If they did not support their spending plan.
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