September 20, 2021

Mayor Lightfoot Releases 2022 Budget Proposal

Budget includes $1.9 billion in key investments and no new taxes—an investment-based recovery strategy with a foundation set on greater opportunities for rebuilding Chicago into a safer, stronger, and more prosperous city for all of Chicago’s residents

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot presented to the City Council the 2022 Budget Recommendations today - the result of a rigorous budget process involving conscientious due diligence and a broad, inclusive, multi-faceted series of community engagement sessions. This process culminated in a fiscally responsible plan that prioritizes public safety, economic recovery, and the continued delivery of essential public services vital to the residents of Chicago. 

Chicago’s 2022 ‘Recovery Budget’ will allow us to not only fulfill the obligation we have to our residents, but future generations—and that is to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our city for the better,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “With $1.9 billion in key and enhanced investments, we will develop Chicago into a safer, stronger and more prosperous place in which people can safely raise a family, build a business, and make a better life for themselves. As much as these investments are a commitment to our city’s immediate and most urgent needs, they are also bridges to the brighter future that is just over the horizon.”  

The $16.7 billion Recovery Budget meets several critical objectives integral to rebuilding the city, such as improving public safety, increasing economic opportunity, supporting pandemic-affected families in need, opening up the city to Chicagoans and more visitors, and strengthening access to city services.   

“The City’s economic development strategy recognizes the importance of investing in specific areas, communities, and programs to uplift those who have been disenfranchised for decades,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, Chairman of Budget and Government Relations. “Constituent engagement, community-based development, and transparency have long been part of my focus to ensure that the interests of Chicago residents are well-represented, especially in the process of budget planning.” 

Beginning the community engagement process earlier than ever,  the City held meetings with citywide institutional organizations,  regional roundtables with community and neighborhood organizations, focus groups with subject matter experts, and Budget Engagement Forums with the general public. More than 400 community-based organizations, faith and equity leaders, labor partners, and neighborhood stakeholders were invited to participate, and nearly 200 residents attended the Budget Forums and another 72 participated online. This year’s approach combined internal and external stakeholders, in large groups and small groups, in-person, and virtual.  As part of the process, participants were invited to collaborate not just with City representatives but with each other to identify priorities for the City.  The full results of these efforts can be found at The Office of Budget and Management also held two sets of aldermanic working groups over 12 meetings in partnership with City Council's Budget Committee Chairman Pat Dowell. 

“Across all of these discussions what we learned was that there was a lot of consistency amongst all of our communities and stakeholders on the priorities the City should be addressing,” said Budget Director Susie Park. “The broad consensus was the urgency of public safety and the investments that our communities need to  be safe,  which includes addressing the root causes of violence through programs, services, resources, jobs, and infrastructure— all of which are addressed in the 2022 Budget.” 

Over $400 million is allocated to priority investment areas identified by Chicago’s violence reduction and community safety plan, “Our City, Our Safety,” in addition to ongoing investments and efforts by the City of Chicago and its partners.  Since 2019, the City has tripled violence prevention and intervention investments. This represents a $35 million increase over two years from $15 million to $50 million—putting Chicago’s anti-violence investment on par with New York City and L.A., proportionate to our population.  The current proposal increases violence prevention and intervention investments by $85 million in conjunction with other investments important to community safety. 

The 2022 proposed budget closes the projected $733 million gap and an additional $56.3 million in new Corporate Fund investments with $298.2 million in savings and efficiencies, and $491.1 million in new or increased revenues – including leveraging American Rescue Plan (ARP) Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (LFRF) resources for essential City services. These gap closing measures result in a 2022 Budget with no new tax or significant fee increases for our residents.  

Importantly, the 2022 Recovery Budget includes investments that build a better Chicago by increasing safety and opportunities. To make those conditions a reality, the investment strategy is driven by two key principles: investment in families and neighborhoods will increase community safety; and investment in Chicago’s economic engine will support an equitable recovery.  

Along with the 2022 budget, the City is also introducing the Chicago Recovery Plan, which outlines the strategy for how the City will employ resources to respond to the negative impacts of COVID-19 and drive economic recovery. By providing investments in the hardest-hit neighborhoods and industries, the budget presents an opportunity to reverse underlying disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Leveraging resources from the City’s Corporate and other local funds, ARP LFRF, and bonding authority, the 2022 budget and Chicago Recovery Plan create a once-in-a-generation series of investments of more than $1.9 billion to invest in building a better Chicago. Some key investments include: 

  • $635 million to maintain and expand affordable housing 
  • $26 million in arts & culture investments to expand place-based arts and events opportunities 
  • $86 million for mental health to increase access to mental health services 
  • $135 million for direct violence prevention initiatives to increase community safety 
  • $188 million in environmental justice and climate investments  
  • $150 million for youth services and jobs to expand opportunity for youth to access employment and out-of-school programming 
  • $166 million in community development initiatives to drive equitable growth and job creation. 
  • $87 million in workforce and small business support to expand economic opportunity  
  • $144 million in assistance to families to connect families with critical resources to improve health outcomes and increase opportunity  
  • $202 million for homelessness initiatives to expand services and housing opportunities for those experiencing homelessness. 
  • $144 million in other key initiatives including parks and infrastructure, food equity, and tourism and industry support 

The historic Chicago Recovery Plan is expected to make catalytic investments that seek to have the following strategic impacts, including over 40,000 jobs created including youth jobs, 100,000 residents connected to mental health supports, activate and clean over 4,000 vacant lots cleaned, 75,000 trees planted, 5,000 students served, 300,000 provided with internet access, over 4,000 affordable housing units created and preserved, and over 175 new community amenities including grocery stores, commercial spaces and parks, among many other impacts. 

The 2022 budget also includes a proposal to fund all four pension funds on an actuarially determined basis and debt service without the effect of scoop and toss.   

“In the 2022 budget, the City will have finally climbed the pension ramp for all four of the City’s pensions funds. Beyond climbing the pension ramp, the City will also have climbed the scoop and toss ramp, which means that the City can start investing in critical infrastructure assets necessary for economic growth and improvement of quality of life,” said Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett. “These are incredible financial accomplishments for the City, especially when you layer on over $1 billion in structural solutions over the last three years, a forthcoming casino and recovering revenues from a one in a lifetime pandemic.”  

The Budget reveals the City’s commitment to continue its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild Chicago through an investment-based equitable economic recovery strategy to enhance public safety, creating economic opportunities for residents and businesses, and strengthening Chicago’s neighborhoods. 



"This budget proposal is a critical first step in the City of Chicago's increased commitment to investing in the incredible arts and cultural organizations and artists found in all 77 neighborhoods. We thank the mayor for recognizing the civic, social, and economic impact of our $3.2 billion industry, representing over 85,000 jobs, as we emerge from the pandemic." 

- Claire Rice, Executive Director at Arts Alliance Illinois

"Funding public services sustainably over-time is always challenging because it involves tax policy. But if a tax system fails to generate revenue that at least grows with the economy from one year into the next, it generates deficits that make it next to impossible for service levels to be maintained. For that reason, the automatic adjustment in the City of Chicago's property tax levy which is based on the consumer price index is really good fiscal policy, because it simply maintains the value of that revenue source on a year-to-year basis, after accounting for inflation. Indeed, it should not be viewed as a tax increase at all, given all this adjustment does it keep the property tax levy constant in real terms. When analyzing the City's use of debt, it is crucial to distinguish sound debt practices from irresponsible ones. For instance, much of the City's historic use of "scoop and toss" financing was highly irresponsible, because the debt was used to cover current spending on services. That's like a family using credit card debt to pay for groceries and rent. On the other hand, it is both good public policy and sound fiscal practice for the City to issue debt to pay for physical infrastructure needs which have high upfront costs but also a long and valuable useful life, that generates economic, social, and quality of life benefits for decades. Hence this practice is akin to a family taking out a mortgage to pay for a home."

Ralph Martire, Executive Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

“We applaud the Mayor’s commitment to multifamily housing in her 2022 budget and commend this bold investment to help address affordable housing challenges by creating quality housing for Chicagoans all across the city.”
- Michael J. Mini, Executive Vice President, Chicagoland Apartment Association

“We are happy to see the Mayor and her team present a budget that takes an overall balanced approach. We look forward to seeing further details and that this critical one-time infusion of funds will be used to advance not only immediate needs but longer term transformational investments that will secure an equitable future for Chicago.”

- Dr. Helene Gayle, President & CEO of The Chicago Community Trust

"We are very excited for the significant budget commitment to address the priorities of the Food Equity Council developed with community input. Food focused community groups, businesses, farms, worker coops, retailers, and organizations across Chicago's south and west sides will be able to equitably meet the opportunities and needs of their own communities."

- Rodger Cooley, Executive Director of Chicago Food Policy Action Council

“It’s encouraging to see the Mayor’s investment in the equitable economic recovery measures needed for Chicago’s communities to thrive. We were honored to partner with the City of Chicago to produce Sundays on State, which succeeded in accelerating the economic recovery, uniting the community and creating joy. We’re confident that future support of Chicago’s communities will have similar outcomes and are crucial to the viability of our great city.”

- Michael Edwards, Chicago Loop Alliance President & CEO

“Growth in our most vulnerable communities will require amplified, steadfast and laser focused commitments from government, civic, philanthropic and the business community. Equally important will be collaboration and partnership with community leadership and residents. Funding Black entrepreneurship in community retail corridors advances both economic development, community wealth building and creating local employment opportunities. Chicago TREND supports Mayor Lightfoot's proposed budget as it will offer a collaborative approach to continuing to fund community development, small business growth and community retail development on the South and West Sides of Chicago.”

- Lyneir Richardson, Chief Executive Officer, The Chicago TREND Corporation

“As a former Mayor, I know budgets are never easy and striking the right balance is always the goal. This budget begins that process, with its substantial investments in youth, mental health, community development, arts and other human service functions. At the same time this budget acknowledges that city debt and public safety cannot be ignored.  I commend Mayor Lightfoot for the strides in this budget proposal and look forward to a participatory process that addresses challenges like universal basic  income, continued small business investment and reimagining public safety.” 

– Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO, Chicago Urban League

“We applaud Mayor Lightfoot’s bold housing budget to stabilize our communities by investing in the backbone: preserving the rental stock that houses our low and moderate income families. As a multifamily rehab lender in Chicago’s south and west sides, CIC knows it takes this kind of deep City commitment to spur the recovery so badly needed by low and moderate- income renters and the small, local building owners who provide their housing. We fully support this proposed investment and are grateful for the continuing leadership, partnership and vision of the Department of Housing under Mayor Lightfoot during this challenging time.”

- Stacie Young, President and CEO, Community Investment Corporation (CIC)

“We are invigorated to see Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to funding violence prevention, we are thankful that she clearly sees the importance in making sure the work of violence prevention is funded appropriately and we know she understands It takes far less resources to resolve issues before they implode than incarceration is able to accomplish after the fact. The work our outreach teams do is vital to decreasing the violence and saving lives in Chicago.”

- Angela Hurlock, Executive Director of Claretian Associates

“Mayor Lightfoot rises to meet the unprecedent challenges in our city with a thoughtful and balanced budget that will accelerate neighborhood revitalization efforts, and help small businesses get back on track and thrive.”

- Leon I. Walker, Esq. Managing Partner DL3 Realty, L.P.

“The monthly cash payments included in the Mayor’s budget would be nothing short of life-changing for thousands of Chicago families. We applaud her bold leadership and are proud to be partners in the effort to create an unprecedented direct cash assistance pilot for 5,000 households to advance an equitable recovery from COVID-19.”

- Harish I Patel, Director of Economic Security for Illinois

"Elevate applauds Mayor Lightfoot on her announcement to invest $188m dollars in equitable climate actions to build resiliency and mitigate the future threat of climate change for the City of Chicago. The City’s focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency and green infrastructure investments at the neighborhood-level will help drive the local green economy and deliver on the equitable co-benefits that Chicago communities need to thrive.”

- Anne Evens, CEO of Elevate

“Community leaders and residents have been building equitable transit oriented development (ETOD) for years, from Logan Square to Woodlawn, and Rogers Park to Washington Heights. This has meant affordable housing, community centers, small businesses, cultural venues and health clinics within walking distance to train stations. The convergence of the pandemic, climate, racial justice and economic crises from 2020 has made solutions like ETOD, which tackles them all at the same time, more relevant than ever. Mayor Lightfoot knows that there is no equitable recovery without equitable transit-oriented development. Her commitment to expand resources in support of ETOD will improve communities and our city as a whole. Chicago can be a national and global leader in community-driven solutions that respond to the challenges shaping cities for decades to come."

- Roberto Requejo Carballo; Program Director of Elevated Chicago

“As one of the largest immigration legal services providers in the city, we are grateful that the Mayor continues to invest in legal protection for immigrant and refugee communities. The need for legal services continues to grow, and this additional support to expand capacity for the Legal Protection Program is coming at a critical time. We look forward to continuing to work to ensure more people in our communities can access legal services."

- Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director of Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center

“We are grateful to Mayor Lightfoot for her continued commitment and planned investment to minority owned business support and development. HACIA stands ready to work with her office to implement measures that will help our members continue to develop and contribute to the economic growth of our economy.”

– Jackie Gomez, Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association

“We are gratified that the City's 2022 budget and revenue projections show the beginning of an economic recovery that we have been seeing across the state and country.  In particular, the City's budget includes improvement in income tax revenues, a component of which comes from an increased distribution of state income taxes to municipalities that the IML advocated for during the 2021 state legislative spring session." 

- Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League

"Community organizers have long been advocating for the type of long-term Marshall-Plan level investment in community-led development on Chicago’s South and West sides that we hope this new moment in our country and city’s history will lead to.”

- Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)

“The diverse representation on the Mayor’s Working Group for Returning Residents (WGRR) speaks to our ability as a society to come together and imagine a city of Chicago that supports a segment of its residents that is often forgotten. The WGRR team centered the voices of people directly impacted by incarceration in drafting recommendations that will change the way we treat and support people coming home. Thank you Mayor Lightfoot for validating and affirming our voices. This budget approval will create access and support for employment, housing, healthcare, and wellness resources for people impacted by the justice system. We are transforming our city by being deliberate, compassionate, and mission driven as we address the trauma caused by mass incarceration. It has been an honor to collaborate with such amazing individuals. I am proud of the work accomplished that will help forge a pathway that humanizes people returning home. In doing this, we humanize ourselves and commit to the cause of social justice.”

- Orlando Mayorga, JEO Initiative Reentry Coordinator, Lt. Governor's Office

"As a community developer, KMW supports and welcomes the desperately needed resources to re-urbanize blighted neighborhoods, provide living wage, and an intensified invest in City’s young people. The time and opportunity to provide smart equitable generational investment across the city is NOW. Our mark on history is right in front of us, we must support this budget. This type of investment can secure Chicago’s future for generations to come. The recovery plan is not a panacea for all the City’s problems. However, historic funding can solve many. The 2022 budget is an infliction point in the City’s history that will have generational implications."

– Bill Williams, Principal, KMW Communities LLC

“We are pleased to see a focus on community safety and an inclusive and an equitable economic recovery in the Mayor's proposed plan for the American Rescue Plan funding for Chicago.”

- John Palfrey, President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

“Mayor Lightfoot has no choice but to explore creative ways to close our City’s systemic budget deficits while simultaneously address long-neglected facets of our economy, the anticipated federal relief provides this once in a lifetime opportunity for all Chicagoans to work together toward a more prosperous and inclusive City and region.”

- Zeb McLaurin, McLaurin Development Partners

"Metropolitan Family Services, thanks and supports the Mayor’s strategy to utilize American Rescue Plan funds to support community-based, trauma informed violence reduction efforts that are rooted in the wisdom of lived experience. This is unprecedented and welcomed by all in this field."

- Ric Estrada, CEO of Metropolitan Family Services

“Every Chicagoan is deserving of a safe, affordable, dignified home. As the incubator of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness—a collaborative of 30 funders in the Chicago area—Michael Reese Health Trust values the essential role that housing plays in addressing so many of the issues we all care about: racial equity, public health, violence prevention, employment, and more. Mayor Lightfoot’s 2022 budget represents an opportunity to align unprecedented federal resources with philanthropic investments to address homelessness and housing instability in our city.”

– Gayla Brockman, President and CEO, Michael Reese Health Trust

"Sinai Chicago supports the spending priorities for the use of federal stimulus funds in Mayor Lightfoot's budget proposal. As Chicago's largest private safety net, we have been longtime advocates and activists for partnership and investment in our communities to address the health and economic inequities, that have been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan designates significant investment to address root causes of disparity, including affordable housing, community development and safety, assistance for families and the homeless, and of course, public health.”

– Karen Teitelbaum, President/CEO, Sinai Chicago 

"We are so encouraged that the Mayor's investment in community mental health would reach so many more people in this comprehensive plan. Further, we are thrilled that this investment is wide reaching, supporting wellness and mental health needs for Chicagoans."
- Alexa James, CEO of NAMI

“Mayor Lightfoot’s 2022 budget recommendation represents an unprecedented commitment to investment in housing for Black and Brown neighborhoods across the South and West sides of the Chicago. For over 45 years, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago has worked with community residents, government, and other stakeholders, to reverse the legacy of redlining and other discriminatory policies, and bring the wealth building opportunities of homeownership to low and moderate income communities of color in the Chicago region. Along with $100 million in additional, critically needed rental assistance, the Mayor’s budget commits American Rescue Plan funds, and the visionary leveraging of the City’s bonding authority, to commit $235 million to help both support existing homeowners and to generate thousands of new affordable homes. We cannot make progress on closing the racial wealth gap without a real commitment to equity, and that includes devoting significant resources to support existing homeowners and create new homeowners of color in Chicago. Homeownership is the key to closing the racial wealth gap and bringing transformative investment to our neighborhoods. This budget takes a real and significant step in that direction.”

- Anthony Simpkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

"The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, a collaborative membership organization is deeply grateful to Mayor Lori Lightfoot for her leadership in ensuring a very significant investment towards ending gender-based violence in the city of Chicago. Gender-based violence is an often overlooked human rights violation, and a major public health concern, but with this investment, the Mayor and her administration have shown their serious commitment to serving survivors and their families, and to uplifting our communities. As the co-chair of The Network’s Board of Directors, and the executive director of Apna Ghar, an organization that specializes in serving survivors who are further marginalized by their race or immigration status, I am keenly aware of the positive impact this investment will have. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and her administration to craft innovative solutions to comprehensively address and prevent gender-based violence in our city."

– Neha Gill, co-chair of The Network's Board of Directors & Executive Director of Apna Ghar

“We have seen the Mayor's commitment to our city's youth through initiatives like My CHI. My Future. This budget reinforces the commitment to provide hope and opportunities for young people in our city, capacity building for strategic partnerships, ultimately creating a better future for them and their families. This budget creates hope for a better quality of life.”

- Tina Sanders, CEO of Phalanx Family Services

"COFI and POWER-PAC IL parent leaders, community, and Transit Table Coalition partners have been working intensely to bring reform and relief to those most harmfully impacted by predatory fines and fees practices. We appreciate the City Clerk for bringing everyone to the table and jumpstarting the reform process through the Fines, Fees and Access Collaborative. We appreciate the tireless brainstorming that the Mayor’s office and department heads have done so far to provide the reforms announced today, and we uplift this as a great start. We look forward to continuing to make Chicago a leader in reforms that do not build budgets off the backs of those struggling most and appreciate our partnership going forward."

- Rosazlia Grillier, POWER-PAC IL, Co-President Emeritus

“We know that many families were unable to access the different forms of assistance available over the past year. Having a cash assistance program in place that any low income Chicagoan can access regardless of immigration status will be a lifeline for many families and we are grateful the Mayor put it in the budget.”

- Raul Raymundo, CEO of The Resurrection Project

“We know that nearly every person struggles with their mental health at some point in life. The twin pandemics of COVID and violence have impacted our collective mental health. We appreciate the  investments set forth in this budget and look forward to working with the Mayor’s team to ensure these investments have the most impact.”
– Mark Ishaug, CEO, Thresholds

“Mental health is a key pillar in Chicago’s ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these investments and continued partnership with service providers, Mayor Lightfoot recognizes the critical importance of ensuring all Chicagoans can access the services they need to thrive.”

- Joel K. Johnson, President and CEO of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), Inc.

"YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is so grateful to Mayor Lightfoot for her steadfast investment in youth. The level and comprehensiveness of the investments in this budget will have a lasting positive affect on everyone in this city now and in the future." 

- Dorri C. McWhorter, President and Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

"Reducing violence in our beloved city can only be accomplished through collaborative efforts. This coordinated set of investments from the City of Chicago is an important step forward. Youth Guidance is both honored and humbled to be asked to support our young people and their families as they overcome trauma, grief and loss."

-Michelle Morrison, CEO of Youth Guidance

"United Way of Metro Chicago's Neighborhood Network initiative is focused on working with community partners to advance neighborhoods, so we are pleased the Mayor's budget allows for significant investments in neighborhood infrastructure and neighborhood-centered human services. The City of Chicago is an important partner in the work we do, and we look forward to learning more and working with the City on the programmatic implementation."
-United Way of Metro Chicago