(CBS) – Chicago homeowners, did you pay your property tax bill on Monday? It was the deadline to get the money in.
While Mayor Emanuel is touting the city’s progress plugging its budget hole, Chicagoans are wincing from a record property tax hike.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley heard plenty from the mayor, his budget director and frustrated taxpayers.
The Cook County Treasurer’s Office is a house of pain for Chicagoans rushing to pay surging taxes.
Willie Ray of Bronzeville says his bill went up 45 percent.
It was 10 percent for Englewood resident Leo Beltran. His family is considering their options.
“We’re looking at Indiana,” he says.
At a City Club luncheon, Emanuel took credit for righting the city’s sinking finances, reducing the deficit from $654 million in 2011 to $137 million next year. He also touted major improvement in paying down the pension debt.
But solidifying police and fire pensions required a huge $540 million property tax hike. Another big increase is expected to shore up the municipal workers’ fund.
Emanuel says he didn’t create this situation.
“We winked at the public and yet left them with a problem because nobody had the leadership to be honest,” he said.
This was a not-too-veiled slap at his predecessor, Mayor Richard Daley. It’s Emanuel who’s taking the heat now.
Ray, the Bronzeville resident, has this to say: “You know, I see this sign outside as I travel, ‘Building a New Chicago.’ And it just makes you wonder: Who is that new Chicago is for?”
The mayor says solving the city’s shaky finances was essential for future growth.