WBEZ | Chicago budget crisis http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-budget-crisis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Workers picket over move to cancel raises http://www.wbez.org/story/workers-picket-over-move-cancel-raises-89029 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-12/106575752.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>State workers are picketing across Illinois over Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to cancel raises for thousands of employees.&nbsp;</p><p>The informational pickets Tuesday will stretch from downtown Chicago and Champaign to Springfield and southern Illinois.&nbsp;</p><p>Workers are upset over Quinn's decision to deny $75 million in raises to 30,000 workers to help the state of Illinois cope with a budget crisis.&nbsp;</p><p>Quinn continued to defend his decision at an appearance in Chicago on Tuesday. He maintains he had no choice because the General Assembly didn't appropriate the money.&nbsp;</p><p>The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has sued Quinn for violating their union contract.</p></p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/workers-picket-over-move-cancel-raises-89029 Emanuel: Organized labor to change or lose jobs http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-organized-labor-change-or-lose-jobs-88556 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/114218744.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving labor leaders a choice: agree to work-rule changes or face 625 layoffs.&nbsp;</p><p>Emanuel says that's the decision on the table as he works to deal with the city's budget crisis.&nbsp;</p><p>The Democrat says he's identified 625 jobs to cut, but he says that won't be necessary if union leaders agree to the changes he's outlined for them. He says those changes are designed to save $20 million, but he didn't give specifics.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago &amp; Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council issued a joint statement on Emanuel's ultimatum. The unions say they're working on ways to save the city money and they hope to present their ideas to Emanuel soon.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-organized-labor-change-or-lose-jobs-88556 Small businesses fight cuts to neighborhood services http://www.wbez.org/story/chambers-commerce/small-businesses-fight-cuts-neighborhood-services <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/odette story pic.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Chicago</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> aldermen and small businesses are alarmed by a proposal to cut all funding for local chambers of commerce. The move would save more than $3 million of a $654 million gap that the city is looking to close in its 2011 budget, but at a budget hearing Monday, most aldermen opposed the move.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Chambers do streetscaping, remove snow, and promote neighborhood businesses.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Many chamber executives say the city doesn&rsquo;t have the capacity to provide those services itself.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Amie Zander, Executive Director of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce said chamber members can't afford to purchase these services on their own. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&ldquo;I have so many businesses that are on a payment plan with us right now that are giving me $10 a month, because that's all they can give me right now because they're struggling,&rdquo; said Zander.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Zander <span style="">&nbsp;</span>said The West Ridge Chamber of Commerce stands to lose about 60 percent of its operating budget, and would have to close.<span style=""> </span>Opponents of the cut said this would also be true for other chambers around the city.</span></p></p> Mon, 25 Oct 2010 20:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chambers-commerce/small-businesses-fight-cuts-neighborhood-services City of Chicago watchdog unveils sweeping budget plan http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-budget/city-chicago-watchdog-unveils-sweeping-budget-plan <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-25/Chicago fire engine - Flickr Francesc Balagué.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>A correction has been made to this story.</em><br /><br />As Chicago&rsquo;s City Council enters its final week of budget hearings, the city&rsquo;s corruption watchdog is laying out dozens of cost-cutting measures he says could help close the historic municipal deficit &ndash; from firing firefighters to privatizing garbage pick-up to popping a program that provides free inflatable playgrounds for kids at community events.</p><p>The report released Monday by the Office of the Inspector General lays out 24 &ldquo;budget options&rdquo; the agency estimates could close more than $247 million of the city&rsquo;s projected $655 million deficit for 2011. <br /><br />In a letter accompanying the report, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson was quick to say he doesn&rsquo;t endorse any of the options, but is merely &ldquo;informing the debate&rdquo; on the city&rsquo;s &ldquo;daunting fiscal challenges,&rdquo; which he says include a more than $1 billion budget hole when unfunded city pension liabilities are thrown into the mix. <br /><br />The report&rsquo;s single biggest money-saving option is privatizing Chicago&rsquo;s garbage and recycling collection. The agency estimates cutting the 1,400 jobs connected to trash pick-up and hiring out the duty to a private contractor would add nearly $112 million to the city coffers. Failing that, the report says Chicago could save tens of millions of dollars by instating one-man garbage crews and charging residents to use the blue-cart recycling program. <br /><br />Other big savings could come from reorganizing the public safety sector, according to the report. For example, it estimates Chicago could save $63.1 million in 2011&ndash; and trim 564 jobs &ndash; by reducing the number of firefighters on a truck crew from five to four. <br /><br />And even though Chicago Mayor Richard Daley&rsquo;s administration has been touting the fact that it&rsquo;s put nearly 300 more police officers on the streets over the past year, the report says an additional 184 sworn officers currently on desk duty could be reassigned and replaced by civilians, saving the city $1.9 million in costly police benefits. <br /><br />The inspector general&rsquo;s report represents a no-sacred-cows approach to budgeting, and finds potential savings in every cranny of city government: $15.2 million by axing water and sewer subsidies to churches and nonprofits; $5 million by having janitors vacuum and mop just three days a week, instead of daily; and $500,000 by slashing the Jumping Jack program, which &ldquo;provides inflatable playgrounds for community events around the City.&rdquo; <br /><br />The report also represents a different direction for the city&rsquo;s watchdog. The inspector general&rsquo;s office has traditionally made headlines by rooting out corrupt officials and going after city workers on the take, but it&rsquo;s now wading into public policy debates. <br /><br />And Ferguson&rsquo;s new tack may butt up against some harsh political realities. <br /><br />Some of the budget options that could be enacted immediately, such as&nbsp;eliminating free sewer service for senior citizens or doing away with property tax relief grants, could prove to be a tough sell to Chicago aldermen who are looking to woo recession-weary voters ahead of February&rsquo;s municipal elections. <br /><br />And many of the long-term options could run into their own problems. Privatizing city services, for example, has remained controversial since the Chicago signed off on a 75-year, $1.15 billion lease of its parking meters in December 2008. The move paved the way for steep parking rate hikes, only to have the prior inspector general, David Hoffman, release a report saying the meter system was worth far more than the city received. <br /><br />Several other options would require tough contract renegotiations with labor unions, some of which have already offered concessions and taken unpaid days off during the economic downturn. <br /><br />The City Council is scheduled to vote on the 2011 budget on Nov. 17, and aldermen must approve a budget by the end of the calendar year.</p><p>Representatives for Mayor Richard Daley's administration, for for several public employees' unions didn't immediately return calls for comment.</p><p><br /><strong>RELATED:</strong> Read the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoinspectorgeneral.org/pdf/IGO%20Budget%20Options%20for%20the%20City%20of%20Chicago-%20October%202010.pdf">full report</a> <br /><br /><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of positions cut and the amount that could be saved by reducing the size of fire truck crews.&nbsp; The budget option would eliminate 564 positions and save $63.1 million.</em></p></p> Mon, 25 Oct 2010 17:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-budget/city-chicago-watchdog-unveils-sweeping-budget-plan