He also said the way to get the economy moving again is to make major investments in infrastructure.
"Have them rebuild our schools, have them rebuild our roads because we have a 21st century economy sitting on a 20th century infrastructure," Emanuel said.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" Emanuel said Chicago needs the money because capital for mass transit is $7 billion in the hole, and most of the water system is creaking with age.
He also defended his efforts at school reform, saying Chicago is going from the shortest to the longest school day and year in the country, and that everyone in the system will be held accountable.
The mayor said he's trying to change the way Chicago works.
"At every level we're going to reform government, reform the bureaucracy, where do people need the services and put our dollars where they meet government so they can lead the type of life they want for themselves and their families," Emanuel said.
The mayor also defended his former boss President Barack Obama saying he showed real leadership on financial reform.