Mayor Lightfoot still hopes for state approvals in spring

Mayor Lightfoot is not ready to ask local property taxpayers to make up for cash she hoped would be approved in the State Capitol.

State lawmakers last week declined to greenlight either of the mayor's two big requests last week. The Trump administration may weigh in next week on a third one.

The mayor is now betting a Chicago casino jackpot she hoped for last week will ring in the spring, in time to fill one hole in her 2020 city budget.

“You will not see in this budget a large property tax increase,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Now, I can't say that we're going to be able to hold that off forever, particularly if we don't get the casino in the spring session.”

The mayor also hopes to win state approval next spring for a graduated tax on home sales, projected to generate $100 million. She’s also hoping the Trump administration will approve an extra $150 million or so to pay for ambulance services the Chicago Fire Department provides to federal Medicaid patients.

Even if all that comes in, though, real estate taxpayers will still feel the sting of a five percent city property tax increase next year, according to the non-partisan, Civic Federation of Chicago. 

The mayor said she's lining up votes in the city council.

“It feels like, when I gave my budget speech at the end of October, that was about a thousand years ago,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “So, we're doing some work, over the course of this week, to remind people what's in the budget.”

After weeks of budget hearings, the full city council is expected to vote in the next few weeks on the mayor's 2020 proposal.