(The Center Square) – Questions surround how Chicago will be able to afford some of the increased spending in Mayor Brandon Johnson’s budget proposal that includes $150 million for non-citizen care.
The spending plan will have to make up for a $538 million gap with anticipated revenue.
Johnson unveiled his budget proposal Wednesday, which includes increased spending for public safety, changes to public health care and $150 million to cover costs of non-citizen migrants.
“I’m proud to present a budget that reflects both our challenges and our opportunities to begin the critical investments necessary to build a better, stronger, safer Chicago,” Johnson said. “This budget is the people’s budget. We will ensure that every resident of this city can thrive in peace and prosperity, connected to all the amenities and resources they deserve.”
The budget, however, does not address the $538 million hole, according to Illinois Policy Institute’s Bryce Hill.
“They don’t do anything to close the structural gap that the city is already projecting, which could be in excess of a billion dollars in coming years,” Hill said.
Because the city already is facing a significant budget hole, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked if the state’s taxpayers will be asked to help. He said he has not had any discussions with Chicago officials.
“I don’t know what the intentions are with it,” Pritzker said Thursday. “I just saw it as you did yesterday.”
Pritzker said the state has already been helping Chicago with its costs involving the non-citzen arrivals.
“We are providing services and dollars on top of what cities do, and in the city of Chicago, as you may know, we’ve already spent more than $300 million to support asylum seeker shelters,” Pritzker said.
Just last week, the governor said he would not have any extra funds for Chicago.
“We have taken some of the programs that have pre-existed the crisis and adjusted them to help with the migrant crisis,” Pritzker said last week. “Let me give you one example, our rental assistance program. We have provided some of that rental assistance money, which wasn’t originally intended to be about asylum seekers for this challenge.”
Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, said lawmakers are talking with Chicago officials, but do not to expect supplemental spending to be approved during veto session.
“I made it clear we were not expecting to do a supplemental appropriation during veto session,” Welch said Thursday.