CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is heading to Springfield today to roll the dice and try winning over state lawmakers on changes to the proposed Chicago casino and her plan for a graduated real estate transfer tax to provide $50 million in revenue for her 2020 budget.
The mayor is expected to meet with Gov. JB Pritzker and legislative leaders in an effort to pass her legislative agenda during veto session this week.
Lightfoot is asking lawmakers to approve a graduated real estate transfer tax that would charge lower rates for on homeowners whose houses sell under $500,000 while charging more to those with more expensive homes and commercial properties. She estimated it would generate $50 million in new revenue for 2020, and $100 million a year after that.
Without the money from her real estate transfer tax proposal, the mayor has hinted she might have to raise property taxes to balance the budget next year.
Meantime, the mayor is seeking revisions to state legislation allowing for a Chicago casino, after a study earlier this year found the current plan isn’t viable because of a “very onerous” tax rate that could scare off potential private operators. Lightfoot has proposed either combined state-city ownership of a Chicago casino, or a lower tax rate for a privately-owned casino in the city, to make the plan more viable.
The mayor’s office has not provided any details about her visit to Springfield, or said if her proposals have been introduced as proposed legislation yet. If lawmakers don’t vote on her proposals during veto session, she would have to wait until spring, meaning she would have to come up with an alternative to her real estate transfer tax to help balance the 2020 budget.
The City Council must approve the 2020 budget by the end of the month.