Chicago owes $32.9 billion to its four employee pension funds representing police officers, firefighters, municipal employees and laborers, according to the 2020 Certified Annual Financial Report — an increase of nearly 3.5% from 2019.
The nationwide Fight For $15 movement pushed the challenges facing Chicago’s lowest-paid workers — who are primarily Black and Latino — to the top of the agenda for city officials.
The delay comes as city officials wait for U.S. Treasury Department officials to decide whether they will give Mayor Lori Lightfoot the green light to use $465 million in federal funds to pay off high-interest debt the city incurred to balance its 2020 and 2021 budgets.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to “force a reckoning” on the issue of pensions, which she called “the biggest problem” facing Chicago’s finances.
Concerned that a surge in violence that begin in 2020 will turn into a bloody summer, aldermen urged city officials to spend the city’s $1.9 billion share of the latest federal COVID-19 relief package on efforts to stop shootings and murders by funding mental health services and job programs.
Work is underway on a yearslong effort to repair Chicago’s crumbling streets, sidewalks, bridges and shoreline with billions of dollars of borrowed money, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.
A permanent casino could open as soon as 2025 in Chicago, although slot machines could start ringing at O’Hare and Midway airports much sooner — with tentative plans for a temporary gaming palace also in play.
The proposal authored by Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) would send 5,000 families $500 per month for a year as part of an effort to study whether a universal basic income could help Chicagoans recover from the economic catastrophe of the coronavirus pandemic and fight poverty.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to set aside about half of the $1.9 billion the city of Chicago expects to get from the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in March to cancel high-interest debt.
Some retired firefighters could see their pensions grow after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure to boost the annual cost-of-living increase added to their checks. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the measure would create an “unfunded mandate” that would force Chicago officials to raise taxes or cut services.
Progressive groups launched a campaign Thursday to ratchet up the pressure on Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago City Council to spend the city’s $1.9 billion share of the latest federal COVID-19 relief package on direct aid to Chicagoans struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“These conversations are a slap in the face to people that have suffered great atrocities over time in this country," said Ald. Jason Ervin, the chairman of the City Council Black Caucus.
Several aldermen on Thursday called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to use approximately $50 million from the city’s share of the latest COVID-19 relief package to fund cash assistance payments to Chicagoans struggling to stay afloat. Lightfoot declined to support cash assistance payments to Chicagoans in a statement to WTTW News.
A new program in Chicago will offer minority-owned firms that have city contracts access to financing from the federal government as part of the city’s effort to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will two massive summer events take place this year amid an accelerated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine — and the possible end to the pandemic? Or can Chicagoans expect another round of “re-imagined festivals” in 2021, with virtual concerts replacing in-person events?
Aldermen blocked a Wednesday vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds, prompting the mayor to utter an expletive caught on a hot mic during the meeting.