Mayor Johnson travels to Springfield to fight for $1B he says Chicago owed in state funds

Craig Wall Image
Thursday, May 9, 2024
Johnson travels to Springfield to fight for $1B he says Chicago owed
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson traveled to Springfield, Illinois to fight for $1B he says the city is owed in state funds.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Our coverage on this topic has moved here.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was down in Springfield Wednesday as part of a two-day visit. He's fighting for $1 billion that he says Chicago is owed in state funds.

Johnson arrived with members of his team early Wednesday afternoon.

ABC7 Chicago is now streaming 24/7. Click here to watch

"In a few hours, I'm gonna have conversations with multiple individuals. And after those conversations, I'm more than happy to talk," Johnson said at the time.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke in Springfield Wednesday.

Mayor Johnson met with legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle, including House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch.

"We know that the conservative estimate of what the city of Chicago deserves is $1.1 billion," Johnson said. "We're all working towards that goal. You know, as far as the specifics around how we generate revenue to ensure that, again, that's an ongoing conversation."

One of the mayor's priorities is advocating for additional funding for Chicago Public Schools, which would amount to a nearly 50% increase in state funding for CPS. The ask was something a number of lawmakers privately scoffed at. It comes at a time when the city is about to begin negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union on a new contract.

SEE ALSO: CTU contract negotiations start with union delivering demands to Chicago Public Schools officials

"But if he wants to help me to make sure that more money gets into Chicago Public Schools, and, again, he would join me in asking for an additional $200 million into the school funding formula, which would increase it to $550 million," said state Rep. Will Davis, chair of the Appropriations Committee for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Some lawmakers said they are just glad to have the mayor in Springfield, collaborating with them on solutions.

"The squeaky wheel gets the oil, right? If you don't know what the ask is, you can't, in a collaborative manner, try to produce it," 27th District state Rep. Justin Slaughter said.

The mayor also met with the the legislative progressive caucus, along with Governor JB Pritzker.

Another big request from Johnson was money to help replace lead water lines in the city.

"To ensure that we can move with some expediency around changing the service lines, particularly with providers that support our young people, our childcare providers," Johnson said.

The Chicago Black Aldermanic Caucus was also in Springfield on an unrelated, previously scheduled trip to meet with members of the Legislative Black Caucus. They were also advocating for Chicago.

"We do not have the luxury not to work together anymore. Our communities are in chaos," Ald. Jeanette Taylor said. "We got responsibilities to all our taxpayers, and so this is an opportunity and we can't pass on it."

Infrastructure to help address the underlying problems that contributed to the widespread flooding on Chicago's West Side last summer was on their agenda.

"So, we're looking at infrastructure dollars not only to expand the sewers, and to come up with the reservoir situation, but also to deal with the operational issues that our residents were faced with. Some still have mold in their basement. Some still have not recovered from the flood of last year," 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin said.

Mayor Johnson will wrap up his Springfield visit Thursday morning, when he will be meeting with labor leaders to continue to build support for his legislative agenda.