27 October 2021
Public Statement – 2022 City Budget
I am pleased to be able to announce my support for the 2022 Appropriations Ordinance and associated budget documents presented to City Council at the October 27th session.
This year, I introduced the first independent Aldermanic budget proposal in thirty years. That preliminary framework, which was drafted before the final numbers for federal aid and revenue projections were released, has helped shape and guide my priorities for this budget season. My support for this budget ultimately stems from the substantial funding increases included for issues of critical concern for myself and my constituents, including and especially:
- The city’s largest allocations ever for non-police violence and crisis prevention initiatives, including direct street outreach/violence prevention teams, non-police emergency first responders, domestic and gender-based violence prevention and survivor aid, and the continued expansion of our city’s mental health care network. In particular this budget secures:
- $85m in non-police violence prevention and street outreach initiatives
- $57m for gender-based violence
- $65m for youth employment and opportunity initiatives
- $86m in mental health funding, including more than $6m dedicated to new staffing at the city’s mental health clinics
- Pandemic relief and proactive support initiatives including community development and business support grants; expanded outreach, support, and housing for unhoused people; affordable housing; and long-term environmental and sustainability initiatives. In particular this budget secures:
- $122m for homelessness prevention and housing options, including rapid rehousing, shelter improvements, non-congregate housing, diversion housing, and single-room occupancy (SRO) repair and rehabilitation
- $30m for a guaranteed basic income pilot and $41 million in other low-income assistance programs
- $188m for environmental protection and sustainability, including regional composting, electric vehicle charging, lead abatement, and the annual planting of an additional 15,000 trees
- $57m in small business grants and support programs, as well as $67m in corridor revitalization funds and an additional $16m in new arts and culture funding
- In addition to the above support programs, I advocated for and was able to secure increased spending for our direct service departments, including new building inspectors and public way construction inspectors; additional garbage carts and delivery services to cut down on replacement wait times; and forestry crews for proactive, grid-based tree trimming, maintenance, and inoculation.
No budget is perfect. I am concerned by the City’s ongoing reliance on regressive revenue streams, its long-term debt positions, and the outsized portion of departmental budget appropriations that goes to the Chicago Police Department. In this year’s budget, CPD takes in roughly twenty cents out of every dollar spent on departmental funding. This is simply unsustainable, both in year to year expenses and in terms of long-term pension debt.
This budget contains many hopeful first steps towards a city that fully funds our communities. It remains for us as elected representatives to continue building on this beginning. I support this budget, with concerns but in the hopes of a sustainable path towards equitable spending and fully-funded services for our neighbors and our communities.
Very truly yours,
Alderman – 40th Ward