CHICAGO (CBS) — There were no disruptions Thursday night during the last of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s three town hall meetings on next year’s Chicago city budget, but there wasn’t time for much else, either.
Seventy people spoke in 100 minutes during the meeting, at Wright College in the Dunning neighborhood on the Northwest Side. Those who couldn’t be succinct were cut off before they had a chance to make their point; but plenty did so, mostly airing a variety of complaints.
A handful of people voiced outrage about a proposal to fill most of next year’s budget gap through a $500 million property tax hike.
“You raise the taxes, you’ll see a mass exodus of people getting the hell out of this goddamn city,” one man shouted.
Earlier in the day, the mayor defended his push for a major property tax hike, acknowledging it would be a tough pill to swallow for taxpayers, but saying it’s necessary to shore up police and firefighter pension funds, restore the city’s worst-in-the-nation bond rating, and solve the city’s long-standing financial crisis.
“This will be, obviously, difficult. And I don’t underestimate the difficulty. That’s why it’s going to be done in the most fair and progressive manner,” the mayor said.