Lightfoot, Pritzker face big test with COVID-19 pandemic during first term in office

Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot find themselves working to stop a pandemic during their first term in office. The crisis is a test of their leadership.

The governor admits he is rewriting the state budget, and even though a credit rating agency recently warned Chicago is not prepared for the severe recession that could be coming, Mayor Lightfoot insists her administration is.

The nearly 115,000 weekly unemployment claims Illinois reported Thursday are 10 times the previous weekly total, portending a huge decline in income tax revenue.

Shut down retailers, convention centers, hotels and restaurants foretell a similar decline in sales tax collections. It is the same for motor fuel sales, and the coming recession may delay the building of a lucrative Chicago casino.

Many analysts warn that Illinois and Chicago, with its junk credit status, are poorly prepared for a recession. Worst of all, government employee pension funds.

“If [there’s a] 20% loss of assets...Chicago funds could be broke in just four years,” said Adam Schuster of the Illinois Policy Institute.

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