Lightfoot cancels property tax hike in announcing new budget

Lightfoot cancels property tax hike in announcing new budget

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her 2023 budget proposal and deleted a $42.7 million property tax hike originally tied to inflation.

Months before her February election, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot laid out to residents her $16.4 billion budget proposal for 2023.

Lightfoot is walking back her plan to hike the city’s property tax levy by $42.7 million as an inflationary adjustment. She chose in 2020 to tie property tax hikes to inflation with a cap of 5%, then when inflation ballooned she suggested just raising the taxes 2.5% to adjust for inflation and then finally ditched any inflation adjustment.

“This one-time relief keeps the city on course for protecting taxpayers, keeping promises to workers on pensions, and making historic investments in public safety, mental health and public health in general,” Lightfoot said.

The Chicago Police Department’s budget would grow from $1.88 billion to $1.94 billion under Lightfoot’s budget. Her proposal also earmarks $100 million specifically for replacing police vehicles, updating technology and complying with federal consent decrees.

Payments to the city’s four pension funds will account for $2.6 billion of the budget, a $334 million increase from the previous year. That includes $242 million to launch a policy for prepaying future pension obligations.

“This new funding will save the city $2 billion in reduced future pension contributions as well as approximately $30 million in preserved assets, based on current market performance,” she said.

The budget also allots $200 million to fight homelessness by funding affordable housing projects and a $3 million “Tiny Homes initiative.”

Last year’s budget passed 35-15 but was propped up with federal relief dollars the city can’t fall back on as heavily in this new budget. To get her proposal approved, Lightfoot needs 26 aldermen to vote in favor.

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