Chicago Mayor Warns Of ‘Hard Choices’ To Deal With $838 Million Budget Deficit | 5/20/2019 | Staff
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CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago faces an $838 million deficit in its upcoming budget, the largest in the city’s recent history, due to growing costs for personnel, pensions and debt, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Thursday.

In a state of the city speech, Lightfoot, who took office in May, warned of “hard choices” ahead for the nation’s third-largest city.

Deficit - Year - Plan - Problem - Actions

“We walked into a staggeringly large deficit for next year and what was worse we were not left with any credible plan on how to fix this massive problem,” she said, noting that actions by her office trimmed the gap from an initial $1 billion.

A chronic budget deficit along with a big unfunded pension liability have led to low credit ratings and high borrowing costs.

Shortfall - Jan - City - Gap

The projected shortfall for fiscal 2020, which begins Jan. 1, is the city’s biggest since at least 2001, surpassing 2011’s $654.7 million gap.

Lightfoot said she rejected a proposal by her predecessor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to sell $10 billion of bonds to boost pension funding and amend protections for public sector worker retirement benefits in the Illinois Constitution.

Mayor - Budget - October

But the new mayor, who will unveil her first budget in October, was...
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