2023 Budget

My Vote on the 2023 Budget

On Monday, November 8, City Council voted to approve the 2023 Budget which included many good investments for our city. The budget passed 30 - 18. I was one of the 18 'No' votes. Each year, the budget decision is an opportunity to define priorities and make adjustments to our planned investments for the coming year. We spend weeks reviewing the proposal, hearing from departments, and working with colleagues to make amendments and adjustments to create a final budget that meets the needs for our constituents.

Going into this budget, we used information from our community budget survey and firsthand knowledge of constituent requests and ward issues to determine what priorities I should focus on in the budget. Those priorities were creating a department of environment, mental health services, violence prevention, and support for homelessness prevention and outreach. These were priorities I took with me to budget hearings as well as to the Chicago Progressive Caucus and Aldermanic Black Caucus.

Violence Prevention
We started from a good place on violence prevention funding as we still have the $80M+ of recovery funds committed to it. The frustration I and others expressed during hearings was that this is the number one issue for our city and we've only moved about 18% of the funds out the door. The Dept. of Public Health was not well prepared to give us explanations as to why we're taking so long and couldn't provide us with the relevant data to demonstrate how our funds are making a difference.

Mental Health Services
Our Treatment Not Trauma efforts won additional clinician positions in the 2022 budget, unfortunately, many of those positions still go unfilled. The mental health crisis response teams using the co-responder model won't be expanded in 2023, leaving 18 or our 22 police districts without an alternative response model. And lastly, the promise to bring more services to our communities through public clinics is still unfulfilled.

Homelessness Prevention
This one area where we've seen great progress in this budget. Not only is it one of the only areas where recovery funds have been nearly 100% allocated, but I was also able to get 5 additional positions for the homelessness team in the Department of Family Support Services as well as an additional $4M in funds for rapid rehousing units bringing the total budget for 2023 from 800 to 1,200. This is the number one investment that our department needed to help get more of our unsheltered neighbors housed.

Department of Environment
For three years, I have been advocating for this department along with several other alderpersons. In our ward, we know all too well the need for a City department to lead the way in helping our city adjust and plan for the impacts of climate change. In just the last 3 years, we've experienced the devastating lakefront erosion we saw in the 2019-2020 winter season which claimed 1-2ft of land with each storm, a tornado that ripped through 1/4 mile of our ward, the tragic deaths of three women in a senior building because of an early heatwave and a lack of air conditioning, and the widespread damage from a 60-year flood that left practically no building untouched in our ward. We know that we need proactive planning and coordination that only a department can provide. We also provided a plan that was feasible and possible to create this year, but the administration decided against it.

I voted against this budget because we have a responsibility to do better for our residents. Even with the progress we saw, this budget could have and should have gone further. These issues are all urgent, and we should be moving in full coordination to address them. I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues, community and advocates around the city to make gains on these issues because they require our urgent attention and taking no for an answer is not an option.

2023 Budget Survey Results and Updates

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Complete the 49th Ward Budget Survey

On Wednesday, I hosted a Town Hall to review the budget survey results and hear from neighbors before City Council votes on the budget on Monday. A recording of the meeting is available on Facebook by clicking here. The presentation of the budget results is available by clicking here (en español aquí). 

During the town hall, I discussed the priorities I've been pushing for in the budget alongside my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus. These include increasing the number of Homeless Outreach Prevention workers housed in the Department of Family Support Services, increasing the number of Permanent Supportive Housing units for rapid rehousing events, and re-establishing the Department of Environment - which is something that I have been pushing for since the beginning of my tenure.

Those efforts have seen some success. The Mayor's Office has committed to adding five more positions to the Homeless Outreach and Prevention team and increased the number of Permanent Supportive Housing units in the budget from 400 to 1,200. However, the Mayor's Office has reneged on a verbal commitment to re-establish the Department of Environment and instead maintain environmental and sustainability positions housed in her office as the Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Equity. 

In working diligently with our environmental advocates and colleagues in the Progressive Caucus, we presented Mayor Lightfoot, Budget Director Susie Park, and Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar with a framework by which we could incrementally rebuild the department. The framework would allow the additional allotted positions in the Mayor's Office to be shifted to the Department of Environment and create four new positions to bring the total to ten positions. Over time, positions that transitioned to other departments with the dissolution of the previous Department of Environment could be brought back to work towards a fully staffed department. The Mayor's Office would continue to have a Chief Sustainability Officer to work in partnership with the Department of Environment on environmental and sustainability policy issues. 

As the City just published its updated Climate Action Plan this year, a Department of Environment is imperative to ensure that it has teeth and that the goals are realized. Re-establishing a Department of Environment separate from the Mayor's Office is critical in creating a department with more oversight, transparency, and accountability to all members of the City Council.

In the coming days leading up to the vote, I will be discussing these issues with my colleagues and reviewing feedback submitted by 49th Ward neighbors to help make an informed decision on the vote. 

 

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Last month, Mayor Lightfoot unveiled her budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year. Now, we want to hear your thoughts on the budget proposal! Please take a moment to complete the online 49th Ward budget survey to help us identify the priorities of 49th Ward residents. Your responses will help inform Alderwoman Hadden as we enter discussions for next year's budget.

Our office will share the results of this survey during a Budget Town Hall on Wednesday, November 2, at 6 pm. The budget survey will close on Sunday, October 30. 

Take the online survey: bit.ly/2023BudgetSurvey
Sign up to attend the Budget Town Hall: bit.ly/2023BudgetTownHall
Learn more about the 2023 proposed budget: 49thward.org/2023-budget

Mayor Lightfoot Unveils 2023 Budget Proposal

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On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year.

We continue to see the impact of national and global events on Chicago's economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. These include historically high inflation rates and the Federal Reserve's efforts to curtail it with rising interest rates, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the drying up of federal COVID relief funds.

Despite these challenges, Chicago has seen some growth to help generate revenue, especially in the tourism industry, and with better than anticipated revenue from the Real Estate Transfer Tax. Other industries have been slower to recover, especially as rising prices due to inflation limit individuals' purchasing power. Despite these challenges, the budget forecast projects revenues to increase by $100.3 million in 2023. 

The Office of Budget Management currently projects the Corporate Fund to end 2022 with budgeted revenue exceeding expenses by $134 million. Of these, $130 million will be allocated to the Assigned Fund Balance Reserve. This is a reserve that the city maintains to mitigate future risks and preserve financial stability.

The Office of Budget Management projects spending to increase by $228.8 million over the 2022 budget levels. Based on current revenue and expenditure projections, the city faces a better than expected shortfall in 2023, with a $127.9 million estimated budget gap (the smallest gap the city has faced since I took office in 2019). The gap is driven by several factors, including personnel, pension, and contractual costs. Contractual services costs are expected to increase by $53.9 million from 2022. The increase in the expenses is a result of inflationary impacts as well as planned contractual increases for new and expanded information technology services.

To close the gap, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing a 2.5% increase in property taxes. Property tax increases are tied to inflation in the City's Municipal Code. The 2.5% is less than the 7% Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate and half of the 5% CPI cap set forth in the Municipal Code. With the increase in property taxes, the city projects providing an additional $42.7 million in property taxes that will help close the gap and support pension obligations. This amounts to approximately $34 a year for a property valued at $250,000. 

A payment of $40 million from the casino also will help reduce the Corporate Fund subsidy as we enter into 2023. Other proposed measures to close the gap include TIF surplus and department efficiencies. 

As we enter the 2023 budget season, I will be scrutinizing the line-by-line budget proposal closely to ensure that we are prioritizing the health and safety of Chicagoans. 

To view all of the 2023 budget documents, visit the City's website by clicking here

Mayor Lightfoot Unveils 2023 Budget Proposal

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On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year.

We continue to see the impact of national and global events on Chicago's economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. These include historically high inflation rates and the Federal Reserve's efforts to curtail it with rising interest rates, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the drying up of federal COVID relief funds.

Despite these challenges, Chicago has seen some growth to help generate revenue, especially in the tourism industry, and with better than anticipated revenue from the Real Estate Transfer Tax. Other industries have been slower to recover, especially as rising prices due to inflation limit individuals' purchasing power. Despite these challenges, the budget forecast projects revenues to increase by $100.3 million in 2023. 

The Office of Budget Management currently projects the Corporate Fund to end 2022 with budgeted revenue exceeding expenses by $134 million. Of these, $130 million will be allocated to the Assigned Fund Balance Reserve. This is a reserve that the city maintains to mitigate future risks and preserve financial stability.

The Office of Budget Management projects spending to increase by $228.8 million over the 2022 budget levels. Based on current revenue and expenditure projections, the city faces a better than expected shortfall in 2023, with a $127.9 million estimated budget gap (the smallest gap the city has faced since I took office in 2019). The gap is driven by several factors, including personnel, pension, and contractual costs. Contractual services costs are expected to increase by $53.9 million from 2022. The increase in the expenses is a result of inflationary impacts as well as planned contractual increases for new and expanded information technology services.

To close the gap, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing a 2.5% increase in property taxes. Property tax increases are tied to inflation in the City's Municipal Code. The 2.5% is less than the 7% Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate and half of the 5% CPI cap set forth in the Municipal Code. With the increase in property taxes, the city projects providing an additional $42.7 million in property taxes that will help close the gap and support pension obligations. This amounts to approximately $34 a year for a property valued at $250,000. 

A payment of $40 million from the casino also will help reduce the Corporate Fund subsidy as we enter into 2023. Other proposed measures to close the gap include TIF surplus and department efficiencies. 

As we enter the 2023 budget season, I will be scrutinizing the line-by-line budget proposal closely to ensure that we are prioritizing the health and safety of Chicagoans. 

To view all of the 2023 budget documents, visit the City's website by clicking here