Chicago mayoral election: Vallas rips Johnson's 'destroy Chicago's economy plan'

First-place finisher Paul Vallas says he hopes mayoral candidate Willie Wilson will soon endorse him.

"I’ll probably be talking to Willie shortly," Vallas said on Wednesday.

As the mayoral runoff campaign moves into high gear, Vallas’ rival Brandon Johnson is doing the same thing.

The runoff is April 4th, and Vallas and Johnson came out swinging today.


"Brandon still has to explain his so-called tax-the-rich plan that doesn't look like a tax-the-rich plan to me. Talking about head taxes, taxes on small businesses, taxes on the number of employees. Or when you're talking about things like raising the hotel-motel tax on an industry that's been pummeled by Covid. I mean, that's not a tax-the-rich plan. That's a let's destroy Chicago’s economy plan," Vallas said.


Rather than discuss details of his tax proposals, Johnson prefers to talk about how he as mayor would increase spending by up to $2 billion, in ways he claims would reduce the city's chronic street violence. He told Good Day Chicago that includes new cash to implement a consent decree mandating police reforms.

"We're going to spend to make sure that the consent decree is enacted with all expediency. But we're also going to double the amount of young people that we hire across the city. There's a direct correlation between youth employment and violence reduction. We're going to reopen our mental health centers," Johnson said.

Johnson, a longtime staffer at the Chicago Teachers Union, used part of his speech Tuesday night to attack Vallas' record running public schools in Chicago and several other big cities.

"The politics of old that have left families behind, you know, particularly under the budgetary practices of Paul Vallas that have caused the type of economic despair that we are experiencing in the city of Chicago — and quite frankly throughout the country, wherever he has landed — you know, we have to be very clear that we cannot go back to that old style of politics," Johnson said.

Vallas responded that when he departed as CEO of Chicago's public schools, teachers’ pensions were over-funded at 104% and were widely praised.

"Bill Clinton called our Chicago school reforms a national model. We left the schools with almost a billion dollars in cash balances, 78 new buildings, 125,000 more kids than they have today. And I almost got elected governor based on my performance in Chicago public schools," Vallas said.

Both Vallas and Johnson are competing for the endorsement of other candidates who came up short in Tuesday night's first round of counting.

Wilson has posted on social media a request to his supporters to let him know which remaining candidate they prefer.

State Rep. Kam Buckner said he plans to speak to both Vallas and Johnson.