WBEZ | 2012 Budget http://www.wbez.org/tags/2012-budget Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago City Council passes Emanuel's budget http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-council-passes-emanuels-budget-94106 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-16/budget-post.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen unanimously&nbsp;supported Mayor Rahm Emanuel when they approved his 2012 budget on Wednesday in a 50-0 vote. &nbsp;</p><p>"We have a strong future. &nbsp;This budget does not run away from the future, but shapes it," Emanuel said.</p><p>The budget plan relies on cuts, layoffs, fines and fee increases to address a more than $600 million deficit.</p><p>Emanuel has tinkered with his original proposal to appease some aldermen.&nbsp;</p><p>"I want to thank you for making this a better budget. Because it is an honest budget, driven by an honest process and finally honest and level with the taxpayers of the city of Chicago," Emanuel told the City Council.</p><p>The budget will result in some job cuts — including about 385 layoffs and more than 2,000 vacant positions that won't be filled.</p><p>Under the plan, Chicagoans would pay more for water, garage parking and vehicle stickers. The mayor also wants to increase fines for property owners who don't keep their weeds trimmed and residents who tamper with parking or water meters.</p><p>Last night, protesters had staged a sit-in outside Emanuel's office to try to stop health care cuts, which would close six of the city's 12 mental health clinics.&nbsp;</p><p>Protesters took up seats on the floor outside Emanuel's office. Dozens more assembled in an outside hallway. Emanuel did not visit the protesters.</p><p>Ten people were still sitting outside the office Tuesday evening. Police officers stood by, but made no arrests. People who left the building were not allowed back in and protesters eventually left in the late evening hours.</p><p><strong>Highlights from the budget:&nbsp;</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-11-15/revenue-highlights-chicagos-2012-budget-94072"><strong>Video:</strong> Political reporter Sam Hudzik and Steve Edwards discuss the budget plan highlights</a></p><ul><li>No property tax increase: A much-touted omission, though Emanuel’s school board already passed a property tax hike this summer.</li><li>Water fee increase: Over four years, the fees paid for water and sewer service in the city will just about double.&nbsp; This cost will also be passed on to the more than 100 suburban communities that get Lake Michigan water from Chicago. And churches and nonprofits that get free water and reduced sewer fees will have to gradually start paying up.<br> Parking tax hike: Called a “congestion premium” by the Emanuel administration to discourage downtown drivers, this is a $2 tax increase for parking fees that top $12. It would only be levied on weekdays, but the impact would extend far beyond the Loop.&nbsp; Fans driving to weekday games at Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, the United Center, Soldier Field – even Navy Pier – would pay the increase. Worth noting: the tax is based is for when the tab is “paid.” So if you park downtown on Friday evening and leave after midnight, you should be able to avoid the tax increase.</li><li>Meter headache: If you decide to live dangerously and leave your parking meter un-fed, make sure you aren’t downtown. Tickets in the “central business district” will be $60, instead of $50.</li><li>Heftier hotel bill: The city’s hotel tax right now is 15.4 percent. It’ll go to up to 16.4 percent under this proposal. According to the administration, this will add only $1.78 to the cost of an average hotel room in the city.</li><li>Sticky sticky: Revised after some aldermanic and city clerk backlash, this proposal would raise sticker prices (officially known as the “wheel tax”) $10 for most Chicago drivers. If you miss the deadline to buy a sticker, you’ll pay a $60 penalty instead of a $40 one.&nbsp; And if you refuse to buy one altogether – and get caught – you’ll pay a $200 ticket instead of a $120 one.</li><li>Bad news for bad deeds: If your car gets impounded because you get caught with illegal drugs, driving under the influence, soliciting a prostitute or have a gun, the cost to release the car will double, to $2,000 plus towing costs. It’ll be $3,000 if you get nabbed within 500 feet of a park or school. There’s more: impound fees go up if you’re caught with graffiti materials, are driving on a suspended license, are caught drag racing or flee from pursuing officers.</li><li>Keep it clean: If weeds on your property top 10 inches, those fines are going up. Same goes for illegally dumping trash and having a lot of trash pile-up on your property.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-council-passes-emanuels-budget-94106 CTA 2012 budget headed for a vote despite bumpy ride http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-15/cta-2012-budget-headed-vote-despite-bumpy-ride-94052 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-15/Vincent Desjardins--Chicago (ILL) Chicago Transit Authority, CTA, W. Van Buren St. Lasalle Van Buren station.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council was scheduled to vote on the 2012 budget Wednesday but first, the <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Transit Authority</a> board was to vote on its own budget Tuesday; but not without contention. CTA President Forrest Claypool has said unions' outdated work rules needed to go. Claypool aimed to fill an estimated $277 million budget shortfall but union leaders have said the proposed changes will not solve the whole problem. They were mad that Claypool appeared to blame it all on old work rules and think there is more to the issue. At this point, they have taken a lot of personal shots at Claypool. The showdown could result in bad news for riders--higher fares and service cuts. To learn more <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/traffic/chi-jonhilkevitch,0,3124478.columnist" target="_blank">Jon Hilkevitch</a>, the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> transportation reporter.</p><p><em>Music Button: Dead Cat Bounce, "Far From the Matty Crowd", from the album Chance Episodes, (Cuneiform)</em></p></p> Tue, 15 Nov 2011 15:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-15/cta-2012-budget-headed-vote-despite-bumpy-ride-94052 Majority of aldermen call for budget changes http://www.wbez.org/story/majority-aldermen-call-budget-changes-93680 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/CPL books.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A majority of Chicago's aldermen are calling for changes to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2012 city budget. They say his proposed budget cuts would hurt public safety and quality of life.</p><p>Twenty-eight of the city's 50 aldermen signed the letter to Mayor Emanuel.&nbsp; They say his plan to cut library hours would cause too many layoffs and negatively effect patrons who rely on the library.</p><p>"We're hearing it loud and clear, all across the city, from the West Side to the East Side to the North Side to the South Side," said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd). "Everybody's complaining about the cuts."</p><p>Fioretti said cutting library hours, as mayor Emanuel has proposed, would hurt kids and people who use the internet to search for jobs.</p><p>In addition to the library cuts, the 28 aldermen voiced other concerns.</p><p>The current budget proposal also consolidates 12 mental health clinics into six, and privatizes some health services. Aldermen say public clinics are vital for Chicago's neediest and must be protected.</p><p>Other concerns include the $10 million cut from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. That would eliminate fire and police dispatcher positions - and, aldermen say, endanger public safety.</p><p>The bloc says they also "have reservations" about the proposed near doubling of the fee for city stickers on SUVs. But aldermen recognize that the 2012 budget won't avoid cuts entirely, said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th).</p><p>"'Cause somethin' have [sic] to give. And we're rational enough to understand that. But we just wanna see if we can balance the burden out a little bit more," Burnett said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel said he remains open to changing his proposed budget, as long as alderment identify other cuts or revenue sources to offset the ones they don't like.</p><p>"I hear them. It doesn't mean I agree. But it doesn't mean I disagree," Emanuel said. "And as I always said, not all signatures on a letter are created equal."</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 11:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/majority-aldermen-call-budget-changes-93680 Fees, tax increases arise in Cook County budget http://www.wbez.org/story/fees-tax-increases-arise-cook-county-budget-93599 <p><p>A Cook County commissioner says he's surprised at some new fees and tax increases in the county's recent budget proposal. Cook County Board&nbsp;President Toni Preckwinkle estimates that some of these increases could bring in more than $5 million.</p><p>Commissioner Larry Suffredin said the president failed to make some increases clear in early budget talks.</p><p>"That was failing in this presentation in that only the larger numbers were mentioned, not the smaller numbers, which add up to being large numbers," he said.</p><p>The Evanston commissioner says he doesn't have a problem with some of the budget suggestions, but thinks the increases are too high.</p><p>Preckwinkle proposes a new licensing fee for jukeboxes, pool tables and video poker, along with doubling vehicle stickers for unincorporated Cook County residents.&nbsp;She's also suggesting an increase in parking rates at unincorporated county garages.</p><p>Budget negotiations begin next week.</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 23:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/fees-tax-increases-arise-cook-county-budget-93599 President Preckwinkle talks about the difficult decisions behind 2012 county budget proposals http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/president-preckwinkle-talks-about-difficult-decisions-behind-2012-county <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-26/Eric Allix Rogers--speaking at the kickoff of Chicago Careers in Public and Social Service at the University of Chicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle revealed the 2012 county budget Tuesday. She said structural changes including layoffs would help close the $315 million shortfall.&nbsp; Preckwinkle projects to lay off about 1,000 people from across county government, including some positions within the healthcare system.&nbsp; About 500 vacancies will remain unfilled.<br> <br> “I wish we could close the gap without laying people off, this is not possible,” Preckwinkle told <em>Eight Forty-Eight’s</em> Alison Cuddy.<br> <br> The Board President is hopeful the union will re-consider taking the seven unpaid holidays and shutdown days which would save about 450 jobs.<br> To help determine where to cut Preckwinkle said her office began a performance management initiative. “We put together people in functional areas like healthcare, public safety, economic development, finance and administration, and property and taxation. Those are basic things the county does.”<br> <br> The information collected from those officials helped identify who could be laid off with minimal damage to the county’s ability to provide services to residents.&nbsp;<br> <br> Another point of interest in Preckwinkle’s attempt to balance the budget is taxes. She said she’s committed to rolling back the sales tax, saying it will be reduced by a quarter of one percent at the end of 2011. An additional quarter will be shaved off at the end of 2012. There will also be an increase in title properties taxes such as cars, yachts and trailers.&nbsp; She said the $25 million raised from this tax will go into infrastructure improvements in suburban Cook County.<br> <br> Preckwinkle said it’s now up to the legislative executive branch to pass the budget, and she’s optimistic her proposed ideas will remain intact.<br> “By the end of November we will have a budget in place and I expect it will be substantially the budget we submitted”.</p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/president-preckwinkle-talks-about-difficult-decisions-behind-2012-county Emanuel defends CTA's budget proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-defends-ctas-budget-proposal-93342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-20/3513997518_757471f40f.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday defended the Chicago Transit Authority's plan to close its budget deficit largely through union contract negotiations.</p><p>The CTA is proposing changes to union work rules that it says would save the agency $160 million to avoid fare increases and service cuts. Those savings, however, are contingent on union leaders agreeing to the proposed reforms. Emanuel says it's time for the unions to concede some of their contract benefits.</p><p>"In the past the commuter paid, just two years ago, higher rates," said Emanuel. "In the past, the commuter, just a year ago, paid in service cuts. It's time for everyone else to contribute to strengthening the system."</p><p>CTA says an agreement must be reached by July 1 of next year to avoid more fare hikes, service cuts or layoffs.</p><p>Meanwhile, union leaders have called the proposed budget union busting.</p></p> Thu, 20 Oct 2011 22:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-defends-ctas-budget-proposal-93342 Digesting the mayor's proposed budget with Ald. O'Connor http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-13/digesting-mayors-budget-proposal-ald-oconnor-93113 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-13/rahm hearing WBEZ.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Emanuel delivered his view of Chicago’s fiscal future Wednesday: He presented his <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/obm/supp_info/2012%20Budget/2012BudgetOverview.pdf" target="_blank">2012 budget</a> to Chicago’s City Council. In order to close a deficit expected to run over $600 million, the mayor utilized a number of different tactics. He did not propose a raise in property or income taxes but, the rate for downtown parking, water, and in some cases, vehicle stickers would increase. And under the budget, some things could go away--more than 500 city workers might receive pink slips, three police districts were slated to close and library hours could be reduced. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> wondered if the proposals could make a dent in Chicago’s chronic deficit scenario--could they pull the city out of its dire financial state? And moreover, will aldermen pass the budget? To find out, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to <a href="http://www.aldermanoconnor.com/" target="_blank">Ald. Patrick O’Connor</a> (40th).</p><p>A note – <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> invited Mayor Emanuel to join the conversation but his office said he wasn’t available. The show also reached out to budget director Alexandra Holt but did not hear back about her availability.</p><p><em>Music Button: Mike Reed's People Places and Things, "It's Enough", from the album About Us, (482 Music)</em><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-13/digesting-mayors-budget-proposal-ald-oconnor-93113 Emanuel plans to repeal city head tax http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-plans-repeal-city-head-tax-92883 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/rahm hearing.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The mayor introduced a measure to the city council this week that will cut the head tax in half next year and do away with it by 2014.</p><p>If a company in Chicago employs more than 50 people, it has to pay four dollars a month for every employee. Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls this head tax a "job killer."</p><p>He says cutting the head tax has already made Chicago more attractive to businesses such as Ford - which recently announced it wants to add jobs to its South Side plant.</p><p>"This has been a significant piece in our ability to win those jobs at that Ford plant and add a third shift in the Ford plant in the city of Chicago," he said.</p><p>Eliminating the head tax will drop the city's annual revenue by $23 million. His administration said in a press release that the lost revenue will be offset by other reductions in the 2012 budget. The mayor will present his full budget proposal next week.</p></p> Thu, 06 Oct 2011 11:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-plans-repeal-city-head-tax-92883 Topinka says Illinois not prepared to handle second economic recession http://www.wbez.org/story/topinka-says-illinois-not-prepared-handle-second-economic-recession-92483 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/5374000191_0b0ca9b3f2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Monday the state is not prepared for a second economic recession.</p><p>The tax watchdog group Civic Federation projected Illinois would end the 2012 fiscal year $8.3 billion in debt. The projection comes despite the state government’s decision to enact steep budget cuts and raise taxes earlier this year. Topinka said Illinois has nothing to fall back on should the economy get worse.</p><p>“Illinois, because of bad choices in the past, has fared worse than most,” said Topinka at a luncheon Monday. “And it's probably among the least prepared to be able to deal with further economic downgrades.”</p><p>Topinka added that this year's income tax increase is not making as much money as expected. In January, the governor approved a 67 percent income tax increase to help cut the state's debt. Topinka said the increased tax revenues were projected to raise $500 billion, but that Illinois' high unemployment rate left the state $60 million short of that estimate.</p><p>“If people aren't hired they don't make money,” said Topinka. “If they don't make money they don't pay their taxes. If they don't pay their taxes, I have no money to pay bills. It just goes around in a big circle.”</p><p>In August, Illinois's unemployment was at 9.9 percent. The national average was 9.1 percent.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 22:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/topinka-says-illinois-not-prepared-handle-second-economic-recession-92483 New report: CPS faces "enormous budget gaps" http://www.wbez.org/story/new-report-cps-faces-enormous-budget-gaps-90827 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-19/Civic Federation Report.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Schools 2012 budget is acceptable, but only for the short term. That's according to a report released by the Civic Federation on Monday.</p><p>The checkbook that Chicago Public Schools has to balance is like any of ours, but far bigger and far scarier.&nbsp; Laurence Msall, President of the Civic Federation said, "It is in a very dire situation."</p><p>The Federation's 82-page analysis of next year's CPS budget endorses some painful decisions - like denying teachers a four percent cost of living increase and raising property taxes. It says such decisions are in part necessary to maintain class size.</p><p>Despite these hand-wringing choices, Msall said, "This is a good budget and a good short-term plan for Chicago Public Schools. It is not the long-term plan that they need in order to get through the next three to five years."</p><p>Looking ahead, the Federation report uses phrases like "fiscal calamity in the very near future." Some of the highlighted causes include a broken pension system that may be beyond repair, and the financial instability of the state of Illinois as a whole.</p><p>The Federation is urging CPS leadership to start planning for the widening future budget shortfall now. In a press release, Msall stated, "If nothing is done, the pain and controversy of the FY2012 budget will seem mild in comparison to the massive cuts in personnel and services that will be necessary to balance the budget in FY2014."</p></p> Mon, 22 Aug 2011 11:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-report-cps-faces-enormous-budget-gaps-90827