Mayor Rahm Emanuel released his 2019 city budget proposal today, which expands youth investments, builds on public safety reforms, and bolsters the neighborhood services that residents expect. The Mayor’s proposal contains no new taxes and reflects the fiscal discipline and strategic investments needed to build a brighter future for years to come.
"When you step back and look at the arc of what we have done over seven and a half years together; from after school activities to summer jobs; from free pre-k to free community college; from Safe Passage routes to mentors; from more tutors in our neighborhood libraries to more camp counselors in our local parks; from free eyeglasses to free books for Rahm’s Readers; at the end of the day, to all those parents who are juggling a job and a family, we said with one voice the City will stand by your side," said Mayor Emanuel. "We have been able to invest in young men and women across Chicago because we have done the hard work of putting our fiscal house and priorities in order. This budget builds on the steady progress we have made together over the past seven years."
The proposed 2019 budget increases the current funding for children and youth and allows for the expansion of youth programming, totaling more than $77 million compared to $21 million in 2011. This includes new investments to expand and sustain youth and workforce programs that have had shown success in violence reduction. Approximately $1.38 million of the new investments will expand the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative to universally cover 7th grade boys. In 2019, an additional 600 young men will have the opportunity to participate in this program, bringing the total participation to more than 7,600 youths.
Since youth investments also includes providing access to summer jobs, the Mayor’s budget will expand the number of young people who will be able to participate in One Summer Chicago, the City’s summer youth job program, with $500,000 in additional funding, bringing the total investment to $18.1 million for 2019. With this new funding, an additional 450 young people will be able to participate in the program in 2019; ensuring more than 32,000 youth have access to summer jobs, as compared to 14,500 students in 2011. Other youth investments include:
The Mayor’s proposed budget includes a total of $7.4 million towards employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated persons. The funds will employ individuals to work with Chicago Transit Authority, Department of Streets and Sanitation, Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Family and Support Services, and community-based organizations to clean and beautify parkways and vacant lots in communities affected by gun violence. This revitalizing of abandoned spaces will expand neighborhood access to green space and create a significant opportunity for individuals who have barriers to employment due to prior justice system involvement and who are at risk of further involvement in violence.
The Mayor’s budget reflects the City’s continued commitment to police reform through meaningful investments in enhanced officer training, community policing, increased supervision on the street, and officer wellness. The total investment for consent decree implementation across all departments is $25.7 million, with approximately $12.9 million for new personnel costs and $12.8 million for non-personnel costs. This includes comprehensive reform investments in the Chicago Police Department aimed at providing Chicago police officers with the training, resources, and support they need to do their jobs and rebuild trust with the community.
In this budget, the City exercises tighter spending controls and finds cost efficiencies that save taxpayers money. To reduce energy costs, the City launched the Chicago Smart Lighting Project, which converts the City’s outdated and inefficient High-Pressure Sodium lamps to higher quality, more energy-efficient LED lights, creating electricity budgeted savings of $4.1 million in 2019 compared to 2017. To support clean and healthy neighborhoods, the budget adds $1.3 million to purchase new garbage and recycling carts, and an additional $500,000 for rodent abatement materials. To sustain a cleaner, greener environment, an additional $500,000 will be used to plant trees next year.