Rahm Emanuel 2013 budget address: No tax increases, more after-school investments

October 8, 2012

(AP/File)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will unveil his budget plan for the 2013 on Wednesday.

The city faces a budget shortfall of $298 million.

Emanuel said he wants to address the gap without increasing property, sales, fuel or amusement taxes. He also plans to eliminate the employee head tax.

He says he will do that by implementing what he calls a “cut and invest” strategy that holds the line on taxes and invests in after-school programs.

The mayor did not give further details about cutting or consolidating city services.

He said he will increase funding for after-school programs to over $4 million and allow about 30 percent more students to access summer and after-school programs supported by city funds.

“We will have a budget that’s balanced, holds the line on taxes, in fact cuts taxes, but makes critical decisions about the best investments we can make and the best place, the children of the city of Chicago,” he said.

Emanuel said he also wants to improve the management of health care and debt collection.

“We had a culture of complacency here at City Hall,” he said. “We also had a culture of complacency by those who were deadbeats who were taking a free ride on the backs of the hard-earned taxpayers of the city of Chicago.”

He said he will continue to use a competitive bidding process on city contracts, which he says have saved the city over $15 million since it was first implemented.

But Emanuel has other challenges ahead.

He needs to trim the city’s $15 billion pension funding shortfall, and to make any changes the city needs approval from Springfield.  He also runs the city’s public school system with a separate deficit of about $1 billion, as reported by Bloomberg. 

“Springfield has to partner with us so we can stay in this course of growth ... be able to help our employees retire but do it in a way that doesn’t leave our tax payers with a burden that they cannot afford,” said Emanuel.

The city created a website where residents can submit their own ideas on how to balance the budget. To access the site go to: www.ChicagoBudget.org.