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CHICAGO ( Rahm Emanuel ) — From the day I began my campaign for Mayor I promised Chicagoans straight talk about the challenges we face. The blunt truth is what Chicago expects.
Nowhere is this more important than the budget I proposed today.
This morning I introduced my first budget to the Chicago City Council. Budgets are about priorities, and we have let our priorities in Chicago veer off track. This deficit is an opportunity to shape our city’s future, but if we protect the status quo, continue to kick the can down the road, or refuse to address the truth, the deficit will shape our future for us.
We have a $635.7 million hole to fill. One-time fixes won’t get the job done, won’t allow us to invest in the future, and won’t be honest. We have to make structural changes so Chicagoans never have to rely on these one-time fixes again.
We will close two-thirds of this gap with reforms and efficiencies that will save taxpayers $417 million, and will prevent us from having to increase property or sales taxes. We will make investments in our infrastructure that will create 18,000 jobs in the next ten years, and we will put $20 million back into the Rainy Day Fund to get us back on a financially secure path. And we will do a better job of collecting revenue owed to the City by making those who use city services pay their fair share, and ask everyone to give a little so that nobody has to give too much.
You can read more highlights about my budget here. As always, I invite you to ask questions and participate in the process by following our Facebook page and Twitter accounts. Below, you will see my full address to the Council.
I have reached out to the residents, business leaders, officials with organized labor, and members of the City Council for their ideas. Many have been incorporated, but we are far from a finished product. I look forward to working with our Aldermen and incorporating their feedback to the final budget we pass, and I know they share my vision that reform must begin now.
The cost of putting political choices ahead of practical solutions has become too expensive for us to continue, and it is threatening our city’s future. I know we can do better.