CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s City Council has approved a budget that includes a massive property tax hike and other fees to help close a shortfall and address the city’s underfunded pension system.
Much of Wednesday’s debate before the 36-14 vote was supportive, with aldermen saying it’s needed to improve Chicago’s financial footing and continue services. But many called the vote on the $7.8 billion budget the most difficult of their careers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed an incremental $543 million property tax increase for police and fire pensions. He’s also asked for a $45 million tax hike for schools, a $9.50 monthly garbage charge and other fees.
To make the property tax more palatable, Emanuel wants an exemption, but it requires state legislative approval.
Chicago has the worst-funded pension system of any major American city.