Mayor Rahm Emanuel today released his 2018 city budget proposal, outlining planned investments in public safety improvements, additional resources for Chicago's youth and continued neighborhood growth. The Mayor’s proposal includes no citywide general tax increases, and is focused on government reforms and improved fiscal management.
“With this budget, we can build on Chicago’s long, legendary legacy of growth,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With this budget, we can increase investments in public safety, public education and quality neighborhoods because we have been disciplined in our public finances. With this budget, we can work towards a brighter future for all the residents who live here, all the immigrants from around the world who still see a beacon of hope here, and all the children and young people who are growing up here and will inherit this great city that we love.”
The Mayor’s budget invests in public safety improvements by infusing the Chicago Police Department (CPD) with more manpower, technology and training. This budget supports the second contingent new officers, which completes the Mayor’s plan to grow CPD by nearly 1,000 officers. Further, the CPD district nerve centers will be expanded to six more districts: 2 (Wentworth), 3 (Grand Crossing), 4 (South Chicago), 5 (Calumet), 8 (Chicago Lawn), and 25 (Grand Central). In 2017, the districts that housed this technology saw a combined 23 percent reduction in shootings, outpacing the citywide reduction.
The Mayor’s budget also includes $27 million for new staffing, training and resources to implement police reforms – a $24 million increase over the 2017 budget. Additionally, Chicago’s aging 911 system will be modernized through the creation of a state-required next-generation 911 system, built for the cell phone world. This upgrade, made possible through a long-expected increase in the 911 fee, will improve coordination among first responders and text and photo capabilities.
Next, the Mayor’s budget expands the city’s investments in youth for a seventh consecutive year. Under this budget, after school programming will be expanded by more than 15 percent to serve an additional 15,000 students. Other youth investments include:
The Mayor’s budget also invests in Chicago’s neighborhoods so that growth benefits every part of the city. The budget includes over $23 million in funding for the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to help more small businesses that support neighborhood economies hire, retool and expand. Through the modernization of the Chicago’s 311 system, residents will be able to text, email or tweet service requests like tree trimming, pothole repairs or graffiti removal; track those requests in real-time; and have interactive communication with 311. To support clean and healthy neighborhoods, the budget also expands rodent control and rodent abatement service, adds five more crews dedicated to rodent baiting and will add more than 10,000 black garbage carts throughout the city. To support local cultural institutions, the budget eliminates the amusement tax for neighborhood theaters and music venues that provide the arts and culture that make Chicago’s neighborhoods great places to call home.
The budget also includes a first-of-its-kind infrastructure investment. To ensure the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) can continue to invest in infrastructure upgrades to its train and bus lines, Chicago will become the first city in the nation to institute a fee on the rideshare industry dedicated to specifically to mass transit and mass transit improvements. Through negotiations with the rideshare industry, Chicago is proposing a phased in fee of 15 cents in 2018 and an additional five cents in 2019; all of the funds generated will be solely to the CTA, not to fill the City budget gap.
There are no new citywide general tax increases proposed in the Mayor’s budget, with the focus on government reforms and improved fiscal management. For example, the city will save over $19 million through cost cutting and government reform efforts. By securing lower interest rates on existing debt, the city will generate over $119 million in savings for taxpayers in 2018 along, and improved debt collection is expected to generate an additional $10 million.