Major parts of Chicago mayor's budget-balancing plan advance in city council

Reuters Finance 3 weeks ago

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Proposals by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help plug a big hole in the city’s upcoming budget, including a bond refunding and a higher tax on certain ride shares, won approval on Tuesday from the city council’s finance committee.

The measures head to a final vote next week in the full city council, which will also take up the mayor’s proposed $11.65 billion all-funds, fiscal 2020 budget.

A chronic budget deficit and big unfunded pension liability have weighed on credit ratings for the nation’s third-largest city, leading to high borrowing costs.

With an $838 million deficit looming, Lightfoot proposed to raise $40 million through a traffic congestion plan that would increase the tax on single-passenger rides and impose a surcharge for weekday rides to and from a designated downtown area. Ride-hailing services Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) and Lyft Inc (LYFT.O) have opposed the tax, contending it would largely hurt low-income residents in Chicago’s black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

A handful of aldermen on the committee unsuccessfully tried to remove the tax from a revenue ordinance. Alderman Raymond Lopez said the city should consider a last-minute alternative offered by Uber, along with a mechanism to ensure it raises $50 million by having ride-hailing companies make up the difference.”Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for the city of Chicago to go that route?” he asked.

At an unrelated event on Tuesday, Lightfoot dismissed the alternative proposal as “another Hail Mary pass on the part of Uber.”

The biggest piece of the mayor’s budget-balancing puzzle called for refunding $1.3 billion of outstanding bonds. Originally, the city’s finance team said the move would result in a $200 million one-time savings to ease the deficit, but revised the number to $210 million.

The upward revision came after the Illinois Legislature last week failed to take up Lightfoot’s proposal for a graduated real estate transfer tax to gain $50 million from the sale of higher-priced property. City budget officials have said other belt-tightening measures would be taken to make up for the rest of the lost revenue.

The refunding of general obligation and other debt would involve an undetermined amount of new subordinate lien bonds issued by Chicago’s Sales Tax Securitization Corporation. Previous bonds issued through the corporation, which was created by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have earned higher credit ratings by giving investors a statutory lien on the city’s share of state sales taxes.


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One America News Network › Finance › 3 weeks ago
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Proposals by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help plug a big hole in the city's upcoming budget, including a bond refunding and a higher tax on certain ride shares, won approval on
CBS Local › 3 weeks ago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget plan for 2020 cleared its first hurdle on Monday, including her plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021, on a unanimous vote by the City Council Budget Committee.
Washington Times › 2 weeks ago
The Chicago City Council has passed Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $11.6 billion budget plan by a 39-11 vote.
Chicago Tribune › Politics › 2 weeks ago
The City Council will vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $11.65 billion proposal Tuesday, with the only big question being how many aldermen will vote no on the new mayor’s first spending plan for Chicago government.
The New York Times › 1 month ago
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to detail how the nation's third-largest city should deal with an $838 million budget deficit when she delivers her budget address to the City Council.
ABC News › Lifestyle › 1 month ago
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to detail how the nation's third-largest city should deal with an $838 million budget deficit when she delivers her budget address to the City Council
Washington Times › 1 month ago
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to detail how the nation's third-largest city should deal with an $838 million budget deficit when she delivers her budget address to the City Council.
Chicago Tribune › Politics › 3 weeks ago
The City Council met for less than an hour on Wednesday and took procedural votes to advance Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's proposed $11.65 billion budget to a final vote next week. Ahead of the meeting, a coalition of community groups ripped Lightfoot...
Chicago Tribune › Politics › 1 month ago
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivered her 2020 budget plan. Read the full details of her plan here.
Chicago Tribune › Politics › 2 months ago
As Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot prepares to deliver her city budget presentation less than a month from now, on Oct. 23, her options for closing the city’s projected $838 million budget hole without help from the legislature are limited. State...
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