Financial issues, crime top voters’ list of concerns in mayoral race

CHICAGO — In the days leading up to Chicago's historic mayoral runoff election, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle will need to appeal to voters who cast their ballot for the other primary candidates while making the case that they can best handle two key issues: crime and taxes.

As is often the case for races affecting bigger populations, voters in Chicago's mayoral election say the most important matters fall under the umbrella of financial security.

Rahm Emanuel gave City Council members a parting gift by proposing a 2019 budget free of any tax hikes, but his successor may not be able to do the same. According to Crain's, Chicago's annual contribution to the city's four pension funds will double from about $1 billion in 2018 to $2.1 billion in 2023. Emanuel put all four retirement plans on a path to solvency by raising property taxes and utility fees, but rising property taxes are a top reason peopled by people moving out of the city.

Progress was made, but Moody`s Investors Service looks at Chicago's bond grading with a skeptical eye, and the hardest financial times toward the city's obligation is still yet to come.

Both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle are big proponents of improving economic and educational opportunities in lower-income areas as a way to stem the crime rate and offer young people better choices.

When it comes to crime, Lightfoot's platform includes a no-excuses approach to white collar crime and corruption. Preckwinkle pushes a more lenient approach and has been a proponent of emptying the Cook County Jail for non-violent offenders and lighter sentences for first-time offenders.

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