Rahm Emanuel outlines city budget plan: Spending cuts, no new taxes or fees

October 10, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The plan closes a $298 million budget gap with- among other things- $67 million in spending cuts, which includes cutting 275 city jobs; $70 million in healthcare savings and $24 million in collections from deadbeats.

"People were spending money on Michigan Avenue so I think there are glimmers of hope," Alderman Ed Burke, budget committee, said.

"Our goal is to reform where we can, cut where we must, and invest where it matters," Chicago Mayor Emanuel said as he unveiled his 2013 budget proposal.

For the mayor that means 5,000 additional early education slots, more afterschool programs, summer jobs and eye exams and glasses for 3,000 kids.

Aldermen welcomed the budget's funding for nearly 500 new police officers as a response to the city's growing homicide rate

"I don't think it is enough but i do think we are in... we have some fiscal challenges," Alderman Pat Dowell said.

"Our small businesses are very concerned, our residents are very concerned and that seems to be that number one issue that keeps coming back to us," Ald. Scott Waguespack said.

The employee head tax -- which the mayor said penalized job creation -- will be completely eliminated by the end of next year.

"It is a budget that at first blush I could support," Alderman Joe Moore said.

The mayor cautioned, though that Chicago faces a $25 billion pension crisis -- and property taxes will go up 150-percent if public unions such as police and fire, as well as legislators in Springfield, don't help solve the problem.

"I want you to think of it this way: To govern is to choose, as President Kennedy once said," Mayor Emanuel said.

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