City council finance committee approves $ 76.5 million property tax hike, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2022 budget plan passes first test

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by Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago Web Producer

CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $ 16.7 billion budget plan for 2022 passed its first hurdle on Thursday, as the city council’s finance committee approved a $ 76.5 million property tax hike and the rest of its set of taxes, fees and loans to fund the spending plan. .

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The Finance Committee voted 19-12 to approve the property tax increase, which includes an automatic $ 22.9 million increase linked to the Consumer Price Index, which aldermen authorized the year last under the 2021 budget plan; An additional $ 25 million to help fund the Mayor’s $ 3.7 billion capital plan; and $ 28.6 billion in tax revenue that will be collected on new properties.

The mayor’s budget team told aldermen that the property tax hike would cost the average homeowner an additional $ 250,000 $ 38 on their annual property tax bill.

Among the aldermen who voted against the tax hike were: Brian Hopkins (2sd), Anthony Beale (9e), Patrick Daley Thompson (11e), Marty Quinn (13e), Edward Burke (14e), Raymond Lopez (15e), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Gilbert Villegas (36e), Nicolas Sposato (38e), Brendan Reilly (42sd) and Debra Silverstein (50e).

In addition to the property tax hike, the aldermen also approved the mayor’s tax ordinance, which includes a list of laundry fees the city charges for various licenses and permits; as well as fines imposed for various parking, traffic and other code violations.

The mayor’s budget plan includes two pilot programs to help ease the burden of traffic and parking tickets for low-income drivers.

As part of the mayor’s plan, people who can prove they can’t afford to pay off a mound of ticket debt will have the opportunity to pay off their most recent tickets and have the rest of their debt canceled. They will also be able to qualify for a program that halves the cost of their tickets.

In addition, anyone in Chicago will be able to qualify for a “repair ticket” program for simple compliance violations, such as missing stickers for city vehicles, which will give them a last chance to buy. the sticker he needs and to be forgiven for his ticket if he purchases the sticker within 30 days of obtaining a ticket.

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The finance committee also approved the mayor’s plan to borrow $ 660 million to fund his pandemic recovery plan, which will also use $ 1.9 billion in federal relief funds to pay for affordable housing, health mental health, violence prevention, youth jobs, arts & culture, environment, homelessness and other programs.

Some aldermen initially rejected the mayor’s borrowing plan, saying they had not received enough information about specific projects that would be funded.

“I think what we have here is a matter of trust, to be perfectly honest with you; trust that most of us do not have in this administration to do good to our neighborhoods or to the people we represent. We can look at lists until we’re blue, but right now we’re being asked to … take out a $ 660 million loan to give it all back to you like a blank check, not knowing exactly how it’s going. enjoy, or whether we’re going to be included in how it’s spent or prioritized, it’s not something most of my colleagues think of, and especially not something I’m comfortable with, ”said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15e), one of the mayor’s most vocal critics.

But the chairman of the budget committee, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) told the aldermen that they had already received details of the mayor’s plan last month.

And Lightfoot’s deputy chief, Ald. Georges Cardenas (12e) said Dowell had done a “phenomenal job” in providing this information to his colleagues.

“The list has been published. I have it in front of me. Let’s not politicize this process, do we? Everything else in Chicago is now politicized. We know where the money is going, ”he said. “It’s sad that some of our colleagues are joining us in politicizing everything we do, and I think it’s sad.”

In the end, the finance committee voted 27-3 in favor of the borrowing plan, with only Beale, Burke and Lopez opposed.

The next step in the annual budget process is for the budget committee to vote Friday afternoon on spending on the mayor’s budget plan. If approved, a final city council vote could take place next week.

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