Ald. Anthony Beale: City Could Face $2-$3B Deficit Because of Pandemic 

Over the past year, 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale has emerged as a staunch critic of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In April, he voted against giving the mayor emergency powers to respond to the coronavirus. 

Now, he says Lightfoot has downplayed the negative impact the pandemic is having on the city’s budget.

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“We’re looking at a, between $2 and $3 billion deficit, is what I believe we’re going to be looking at. I projected $1.3 to $1.6 [billion deficit] before the coronavirus hit, so now that we have this shortfall, it’s going to be bigger than that,” he said. “So to downplay it, and to say that we were OK just a couple of weeks ago, our budget was OK, I think was extremely short-sighted.” 

Interactive: More from our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

Beale represents the Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods on the city’s Far South Side, communities he says are struggling to access health resources. 

“We know we had a food desert years ago … but now this pandemic has really exposed that we have a health desert in our community,” he said. “So we’ve been fighting tooth and nail to keep things moving, bring awareness to the area.” 

Beale cited the Roseland Community Hospital as one of the few resources available to residents. 

In recent years, Pullman and other parts of Beale’s ward have seen an influx of industry and jobs, with the opening of a new Walmart and the Method Soap Factory in the area, among other businesses. 

Beale says he expects development to continue, even with the economic fallout from COVID-19. 

“It’s definitely hurt the momentum, but we’re going to pick this ball up and we’re going to continue moving forward,” Beale said. “Even though we’re going through this pandemic, I guarantee we’re going to rebound bigger, better, and stronger than we were before.”

Community Reporting Series

“Chicago Tonight” is expanding its community reporting. We’re hitting the streets to speak with your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and leaders about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. See where we’ve been and what we’ve learned by using the map below. Or select a community using the drop-down menu. Points in red represent our series COVID-19 Across Chicago; blue marks our series “Chicago Tonight” in Your Neighborhood.

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