City’s $900M budget shortfall: Council raises concerns about revenue

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CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and aldermen tackled the city's budget again Wednesday.

The mayor made good on progressive campaign pledges to raise the minimum wage.

She's also doubling the amount of city funding to help the homeless and increased funding for mental health treatment.

But when it comes to big-ticket items to help plug the nearly $900 million dollar budget shortfall for 2020, the Chicago City Council is concerned about revenues.

The city’s proposed 2020 operating budget of $11.5 billion dollars depends a lot on state lawmakers.

State lawmakers were asked to modify Chicago‘s bid for a city casino with Lightfoot looking to restructure billions of dollars in pension liabilities.

Chicago alderman face tough decisions with next year’s budget. Revenues from legalized marijuana will begin January 1. It’s a guessing game with no one entirely sure what kinds of revenues it’ll bring.

“We’re all making projections but there’s an element of speculation because it’s a market which is going to be stood up for the first time,” Lightfoot said.

Then there’s increased taxes for rideshare companies.

Lightfoot pushed back hard against rideshare companies and told reporters it’s about more than just revenues. Congestion in the Loop is another major concern.

“And there’s no question whatsoever if you look at the explosion of new cars that are in the downtown area that is driven largely if not exclusively by rideshare and we have to address that issue,” she said.

Uber’s public affairs spokespeople responded to the mayor’s comments with, “That it is categorically false.”

Also Wednesday, 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack introduced a proposal in the city council to require Lyft and Uber drivers do business in the city with an Illinois driver’s license.

He said when the ride-share businesses came here, they pitched themselves as a boon for local jobs. However, Waugespack said there are "thousands" of ride-share drivers in the state with out-of-state drivers licenses.




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