Chicago’s council OKs $16.7B budget with federal infusion

Chicago News

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s City Council easily approved a $16.7 billion budget Wednesday that includes a roughly 30% increase in spending for an array of programs largely due to a hefty infusion of federal funds.

The budget, which was approved 35 to 15, has nearly $2 billion in federal funds and closes a $733 million budget gap.

It also includes more than $200 million toward fighting homelessness, $67 million for mental health programs and $31.5 million for a cash payment for low-income families called universal basic income. Monthly payments of $500 will go to 5,000 low-income households for a year as part of the pilot program that’s also being done in other cities nationwide.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office characterized the budget as a “once-in-a-generation investment that provides us with the opportunity to transform Chicago’s future.”

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At the same time, homeowners could feel the pinch.

The spending plan includes a property tax levy of $76.5 million, a portion of which represents a tax hike approved last year that is tied to the nationwide consumer price index. City budget officials estimate a property valued at the average rate of $250,000 will see an increase of about $38 a year.

Eighteen aldermen voted against the property tax levy.

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