CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel will seek a massive property tax hike later this month, as he seeks to shore up police and firefighter pension funds, and close a $750 million budget hole.
Several City Council sources said the mayor and his budget office have told aldermen he plans to raise property taxes by $500 million next year – with $450 million pegged for police and firefighter pensions, and $50 million for a school construction program. It would be the largest property tax hike in modern history in Chicago.READ MORE: Sprinkler System Floods Skokie Apartment Building While Dousing A Fire
The property tax hike would mean the owner of a $250,000 home would see his or her property tax bill go up about $500 a year.
Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a nonpartisan budget watchdog, said the property tax hike is unavoidable if the city is to stabilize its finances.
“It’s going to be very difficult for many people, especially in this economic situation we have, but also in terms of the housing market has not fully rebounded in Chicago; but the reality is if the city doesn’t bring in new revenue, if it doesn’t cut its operations to balance its budget, it faces the potential of a collapse,” he said.