Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chicago Budget Gap Widens to $635.7 Million, Emanuel Says

Chicago’s budget deficit for fiscal 2012 is projected to be $635.7 million, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said today, and could approach $800 million by 2014.

The gap is almost $50 million wider than the city’s estimate of $587 million when Emanuel became mayor of the nation’s third-largest city in May.

“We have a structural problem, and the moment of truth has arrived,” Emanuel said at a City Hall news conference. “An economic recovery will not solve this problem for us.”

Chicago’s budget for the current year is $3.2 billion. Emanuel is scheduled to present his fiscal plan for 2012 in October.

The city has projected a budget deficit every year since 2001, reflecting a “structural” problem with city finances, he said. The mayor said that while he won’t reduce the city’s police force, he will seek work-rule change from employees. He again ruled out tax increases for people who “feel nickeled and dimed.”

“I can’t ask people to pay more into a system that needs fundamental restructuring,” he said.

AFSCME Council 31, which represents 4,000 city employees, said in a statement that Chicago “is at a crossroads” and that the union is ready to work with Emanuel, to a point. (more)