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Rising Tax Revenues Helping Narrow City’s Budget Gap

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Chicago City Hall (Credit: CBS)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Emanuel Administration says it’s seeing an increase in tax revenues, and that is improving the City’s budget picture, at least a bit.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports City Hall officials say revenue is up from the city’s share of state income taxes. Sales tax revenues are up $18 million more than budgeted. And City Comptroller Amer Ahmed said real estate transition tax revenues are $10 million above budgeted levels.

Those are all signs of an improving economy.

“It really is very strongly correlated to real estate sales. So, as we see increased real estate sales – both on the commercial and residential side – we will continue to see strong transaction tax revenues,” Ahmed said. “And those revenues are up very strong this year.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Ahmed said the city is seeing large commercial transactions downtown, and in the River North neighborhood.

Lease taxes, amusement taxes, cigarette taxes, beverage taxes, and liquor taxes are also bringing in more money than budgeted.

“We feel very good about the Chicagoland economy. We feel that, while there’s still some hard times ahead potentially, that the overall regional economy is getting better, and that Chicago is at the leading edge of that,” Ahmed said.

The only tax revenue that didn’t go up in the second quarter of the year was the utility tax, after an unusually warm winter, according to Ahmed.

The city has significantly reduced its budget deficit, but there’s still a $300 million gap to close for the 2013 budget.