Final vote on Lightfoot budget expected next week, some aldermen want to slam brakes

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CHICAGO — A final vote on Chicago’s $11.6 billion budget is expected next week, but some aldermen want to slam the brakes.

After getting shutout in Springfield last week, Mayor Lightfoot tweaked her budget with hopes of getting it passed.

In Wednesday’s City Council meeting, some aldermen requested to keep negotiating.

“This budget isn’t balanced. This budget isn’t honest,” 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez said. “This budget does not move the city in the right direction.”

Despite the requests, Mayor Lightfoot said the work is done.

“The budget is the budget is the budget,” Lightfoot said.

To help close an $838 million budget gap, the mayor is asking aldermen to back $104 million in taxes and fees.

It includes a property tax increase to open libraries on Sunday, a downtown congestion tax, a hike in parking meter rates and more.

To sweeten the package, Mayor Lightfoot included a provision to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

"The rich have only gotten richer in the city of Chicago and so we’ve put forth a revenue package that brought back the corporate head tax, that would increase the fees on the sale of multimillion dollar properties,” United Working Families Executive Director Emma Tai said.

The mayor favors a different approach.

“It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and lob bombs. It’s much more difficult to govern,” Lightfoot said. “It’s no secret that the United Working Families is closely aligned with the CTU.”

Mayor Lightfoot said she wouldn’t be surprised if the Chicago Teachers Union and United Working Families run a candidate against her in 2023.

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