Chicago alderman questions Mayor Johnson's grasp of city finances amidst budget crisis

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s projected budget deficit is a staggering $538 million, far exceeding the $85 million shortfall Lori Lightfoot predicted before being voted out of office.

Just last week, while speaking at the Economic Club of Chicago, Johnson rejected the idea of leaning on property owners to make up the difference.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) believes Johnson may not have a grasp on the complexities of accounting factors and revenue streams that keep city services functioning in Chicago. 

"To say that we haven’t been creative in trying to lessen the burden on property taxpayers I think begs the question if he truly understands how government is financed," said Lopez.

Also fueling Chicago’s more than half a billion dollar budget gap, the growing migrant crisis which continues to see more than a thousand asylum seekers arrive nearly every week with taxpayers footing the bill. 

"We’ve already spent $160 million just on 13,000, so to think that that number is somehow going to magically be less when we’re going to have five times as many individuals here just goes to show that the accounting is not matching up," said Lopez.

Lopez says there are currently fully funded programs within former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s final budget that could ostensibly leave Chicago in the black.

"You could literally cancel all of them right now and save about $600 million right now, which happens to be the exact number of the budget deficit," said Lopez

A copy of Chicago's 2024 budget forecast can be viewed here.