“The mayor delivered his 2015 budget address before City Council Wednesday. The 30-minute speech served as a recap of his accomplishments during his three years in office as much as it was an initial presentation of next year’s budget.
“With a mayoral election four months away, Emanuel said this budget was balanced without having to raise property, sales or fuel taxes while addressing what he calls ‘the greatest challenges to our future: the threat of crime; the quality of our education; and the need for economic growth and good jobs throughout the city.’
“‘It will do so by continuing the practice of reforming city government, respecting our hardworking taxpayers and, most importantly, by continuing to confront the challenges facing our city — and facing them head on,’ Emanuel added.
“What Emanuel failed to mention and didn’t directly address in his budget address is the ongoing issue with underfunded city pensions, which looms over the budget like a dirty bomb waiting to explode. A state-mandated $550 million balloon payment to the pension funds is around the corner.
“Emanuel instead chose to accentuate the positives in the budget, such as closing a $297.3 million deficit with $49.7 million in non-personnel savings and spending reforms; $27.0 million from sweeping aging revenue accounts and grant funds; $26.1 million from improved debt collection; $27.2 million in healthcare savings; $54.5 million from closing tax loopholes and targeted revenue enhancements; $15.9 million through proper allocation of costs to enterprise and grant funds; and $17.6 million from TIF reform…”
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