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Rahm's 2016 Budget Includes $600M Property Tax Hike, More Fees

Chicago Economy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has the unenviable task of proposing a $588M property tax hike when he presents his 2016 budget to the City Council today. The majority of that hike, $543M, would be used to shore up police and firefighter pensions that have been underfunded for years. A $600M lump sum payment to those funds is due next year. The mayor lobbied the Illinois Legislature for pension relief, to no avail.

Emanuel's $7.8B budget also includes hikes in garbage collection services, per-ride surcharges on taxis and ridesharing services such as Uber, a tax on e-cigarettes and higher building permit fees. The mayor is also proposing a $45M property tax levy for Chicago Public Schools construction. Even with all these proposed hikes, Rahm still needs action from Springfield on pension payments or else the city faces a $219M deficit next year.

The property tax increase would be phased in over a four-year period, starting with a $318M increase this year. It would add $543 to the average homeowner's property tax bill. Emanuel is expected to declare $113M in "surplus" TIF funds, with more than half  of that going to the cash-strapped school district. [Trib]