CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled a $16.7 billion budget plan Monday that boosts funding for police and relies on federal money to help fill the city’s budget hole.
The mayor wants to close a $733 million budget shortfall next year with a portion of that money. To help pay for the mayor’s capital investment plan, Lightfoot will boost the property tax levy by $76.5 million.
“As leaders must commit to a new set of truths—starting with the truth that equity and inclusion must be at the center of all of our work,” Lightfoot said.
Chicago is set to get $1.9 billion under the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan.
During her budget proposal, Lightfoot also promised no new taxes and no layoffs.
The budget includes several points of major investment for the city, including the following:
- $166 million for community development
- $157 million for affordable housing
- $100 million for community safety
- $65 million for youth opportunities
Lightfoot says it’s possible to invest and close the budget gap.
The mayor is also proposing a universal basic income-type program that would provide monthly payments to low-income families. Progressive aldermen, like Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward), have long backed the idea.
“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery so I appreciate that it’s in there,” Villegas said.
Overall, the mayor’s speech was applauded by several members of the council.
“This is in line with what people’s expectations were, their demands are being met,” said Alderman George Cardenas (12th Ward).
“There are definitely numbers that give us hope, but we also have to dig into the details of what is all of that,” said Alderwoman Rosanna Rodriquez-Sanchez (33rd Ward).
Outside budget expert Lawrence Msall of the Civic Federation applauded the use of federal dollars but cautioned the city must be careful about long-term investments.
“We need to make sure that those programs are not built into an expectation that tax increases are going to fund them,” Msall said.
Now, the hard work of combing through the details of Lightfoot’s proposal begins. The mayor is aiming to pass her budget in October.