City Council to vote on $16.7 billion budget by end of week

Chicago News

CHICAGO — A multi-billion dollar budget is poised to pass after Mayor Lightfoot signed off demands from the council’s Progressive Caucus.

The City Council Budget Committee overwhelmingly backed Lightfoot’s $16.7 billion spending plan by a vote of 27 to 5, setting up a vote by the full City Council later this week.

Support for the plan came following demands from the Progressive Caucus, who stated the city needs a boost in funding for public mental health clinics.

Lightfoot agreed to the changes, with $6.3 million now set to be funneled to the city’s mental health clinics which will lead to the hiring of 29 new employees.

Chicago is also set to get almost $2 billion in federal dollars under the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan.

The Budget Committee also agreed to form a subcommittee that will be charged with overseeing the spending of those federal funds.

Among the dissenters for the budget was 23rd Ward Alderman Silvana Tabares, who raised concerns over potential increases in taxes.

Conservative members objected to the budget’s universal basic income program. The budget would give $500 a month to 5,000 low-income families for a year at a cost of $32 million.

“I’ve helped people my whole life, even well before I was Alderman, even well before I was a fireman, but I just can’t give $30 million away with no strings attached,” 38th Ward Alderman Nicholas Sposato said.

The spending plan closes a budget gap that eclipsed $730 million. Other changes that were agreed to include more funds to tackle homelessness by funding more affordable housing.

The budget proposal has now twice advanced with little public criticism, a peculiarity for Mayor Lightfoot and the current City Council.

The full City Council vote is expected on Wednesday.

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