By: Miya Martinez
The 2022 Chicago city budget is one of the single most important and controversial budgets this year. WBEZ explained how “The mayor’s office agreed to tack on $6 million to its mental health spending plan to fund nearly 30 new positions at the city’s five mental health clinics.”(WBEZ - 2021). This new budget was made to help increase funding into a variety of social programs, mental services, and environmental programs. Wirepoints, which showcases a variety of information on Chicago's current debt situation, says that one thing to take note of is “Chicago’s other local governments have total debts as a percentage of annual revenues that range from 543% to 746%. No other metro area is as indebted as Chicago is.”(Wirepoints - 2020). This means that Chicagoans will end up having to pay more taxes to not only continue settling the debt but to help and try to sustain the bill.
For many Aldermen, as well as constituents, the biggest question is how the federal stimulus money should be used. Alderman Hopkins, Chicago's 2nd ward Alderman, disagreed with this budget and voted no, his reasoning being, “I’ll never vote on a budget that increases property taxes”. There is heavy belief with Alderman that the stimulus money could be used alternatively to help put down some of Chicago's debts and instead relieve these taxpayers, not force even more money out of their pockets.
What's best to take note of is the abundance of sides people have on the new budget, sustainability is in question and a lot of people are wondering if it will underperform and put Chicago at an even worse state of debt collection. Nonetheless, it is also a great chance to dedicate more resources and projects into different areas of the city, as well as bringing in mental health programs to help Chicagoans; especially during a time when we need them. As a constituent of this city, it's best to stay informed and formulate your own opinion on this budget, taking into consideration every side and angle; since as of now we can only predict how the budget will play out.