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Civic Federation President: City Is Near Insolvency

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Laurence Msall

Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) – The head of the government watchdog group the Civic Federation says the Chicago City Council is going to have to show some strength – and deliver bad news – if Chicago is to truly bring its budget under control.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, says there’s no avoiding some tough choices.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The City of Chicago simply cannot afford to employ as many people as it has now, and it cannot deliver services at current levels, Msall says. Budget officials and the Council can find efficiencies, but there will have to be some tough choices, he says.

“The aldermen are going to have to bring their own ideas about modernizing city government and city services,” Msall said. “They’re going to have to stand up and say, ‘We can’t deliver all these services if it means we are going to bankrupt our city.

He warns also that the city is in dire financial straits.

“The city is precariously close to being insolvent,” Msall said. “When you have a total budget of about $6 billion, and you have a deficit on the operating side of over $500 million, and you are underfunding your pensions each year by somewhere of a like amount $500 (million) to $600 million a year, that is not sustainable.”

Msall is the guest on WBBM 780’s our “At Issue” program this weekend, and you can hear more of his comments Sunday at 9:30 am and 9:30 pm.

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