CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 800 million dollars.
That’s how much money Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had to come up with to fill the city’s budget gap.
And she said she’s doing it with no property tax increase, right now. Forty million of that will come from what the mayor calls a “congestion tax.” It will apply to ride share downtown on weekdays, between 6:00 in the morning and 10:00 at night.
Seven million will come from a parking meter increase and additional meters added to the West Loop, and an increase in the city’s restaurant tax will add 20 million.
CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov explains it’s far from a done deal.
The no big property tax hike is certainly good news to many Chicago residents, but much of the proposed money in this proposed budget is not a sure thing. So, if it doesn’t come through soon, things could change.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first budget address ended with a standing ovation.
And and some skepticism.
“I think this is a budget that we’re going to try to see what sticks after it’s thrown up against the wall,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th.)
That’s because Ald. Beale, and some others, said the mayor is plugging an 838 million dollar budget hole with dollars that don’t yet exist.
“Uncertainty, I would say. I think it’s a strong effort by a new mayor,” said Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation.
Take Lightfoot’s proposed real estate transfer tax, targeted to bring in 50 million dollars. It won’t happen without approval by state lawmakers. And the 200 million in proposed debt refinancing savings isn’t close to a done deal.
“If we’re not able to resolve the financing, if we’re not able to get the real estate transfer tax, we may be back here looking at a 250-300 million dollar tax increase for next year. That would be a very significant property tax,” noted Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th.)
Which Mayor Lightfoot was mostly able to avoid in this budget pitch. It’s a risk she knows exists.
“If we don’t get the authorization we need, we will be forced to make more painful choices when it comes to new sources of revenue,” Lightfoot said.
Budget hearings start next week right as Springfield’s veto session kicks off. That could determine whether the budget is approved, as proposed, or if it goes right back to the drawing board.