Mayor Brandon Johnson Releases "The People's Budget," A Bold, Balanced Plan for FY2024
Mayor Johnson keeps promise of making strategic investments while balancing $16.6 billion budget without raising property taxes
CHICAGO – On Wednesday, Mayor Brandon Johnson released the first budget of his administration for FY2024 in a speech before City staff, departments, community partners, labor and business leaders, and members of the Chicago City Council. The mayor’s budget – and the people’s budget – is a significant step forward towards a future that lifts up disinvested communities, fosters economic vitality, and provides a sense of safety and belonging for all Chicagoans.
Mayor Johnson expressed his unflinching dedication to addressing inequities while committing to fiscal responsibility, stating, "Investing in people is at the heart of this budget and this administration because I, like so many Chicagoans, know what disinvestment looks like and feels like. At the same time, this budget continues our commitment to properly fund our pensions and manage our debt obligations through sound fiscal policies.”
“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. 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 $16.6 billion budget was balanced without an over-reliance on one-time revenues and without increasing the City’s property tax base. The budget reduces the City’s structural budget deficit over time, evaluates common sense revenue proposals, and funds pensions and manages debt obligations with the goal of continuing to make Chicago a destination of choice for families, workers, students and business.
"This budget is designed to address the immediate needs of our residents as well as those who work and play in Chicago,” said Annette Guzman, Budget Director. “We have carefully prioritized investments so as to maintain service levels while enhancing funding in priority areas and in collaboration with various stakeholders."
After an extensive engagement process with community, the budget recommendation sustains and enhances strategic investments in community safety, health and environmental services, housing and infrastructure, economic vitality, and equitable and inclusive human services.
These investments will fund alternative approaches to community safety while modernizing the Chicago Police Department, expanding support for the mental health safety net system administered by the Chicago Department of Public Health, prioritizing housing support programs, creating additional supports for Chicago workers, enhancing key operational services, and increasing youth employment opportunities.
“I want to thank members of the public, workers across City departments, and fellow elected officials who all helped to shape this plan,” Mayor Johnson said. “As we look ahead to the next steps of this budget process and the future of our city, this administration will continue to be grounded in the principles of co-governance, and leading with competency, compassion and collaboration.”
In addition to not raising property taxes, key highlights of Mayor Johnson's budget include:
Economic Vitality, Workers Rights and Labor: This budget invests over $76 million towards youth jobs and programming, expanding summer and year-round youth employment programs within our City departments and organizations throughout the city, as well as enrichment and engagement programming. It adds staff and resources within the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Office of Labor Standards to ensure it has the resources it needs to defend and serve all workers, and establishes the Office of Labor Relations within the Mayor’s Office to ensure policies align with the needs of both employee and employer, while working to create better, safer working conditions for all our workers.
Health and Human Services: This budget continues to invest more than $15 million per year in the mental health safety net system while expanding the size of the CDPH mental health staff working in public clinics and 911 response teams by almost 75%. It builds capacity for re-opening additional mental health clinics by continuing funding for existing clinics and supporting two additional clinics in existing Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) spaces.
Environmental Strategy and Services: This budget re-establishes the Department of Environment to coordinate all of the City’s environmental and resiliency efforts. The budget also sustains key investments in the City’s tree planting and maintenance system and increases funding for the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s forestry division.
Housing: This budget makes a $250 million investment in homelessness supports, including an increase in the City’s Flexible Housing Pool and operational supports for Chicago’s shelter network. It expands the Department of Housing’s Home Repair Program with an additional $10 million investment, offering critical support to low-income homeowners in need of repairs that will make their living conditions safer, and increases funding for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Home Modification Program, to ensure that residents with disabilities can make their homes accessible.
Community Safety: This budget establishes the first-ever Office of Community Safety within the Mayor’s Office to lead the City’s whole-of-government, comprehensive, and collaborative community safety strategy. Part of that strategy includes over $100 million investment in efforts like anti-violence programming; restorative justice, re-entry work; domestic violence and gender-based violence prevention and intervention; and the City’s Community Safety Coordination Center. It also increases the number of detectives at the Chicago Police Department in order to increase the homicide clearance rate and create fair access to promotional opportunities, and adds 300 civilian positions to CPD, freeing up officers to do law enforcement work.
Infrastructure and Services: This budget commits over $53 million towards the City’s six Lead Service Line Replacement programs. It also creates a new Department of Technology Innovation to bring in more modernized, innovative systems to manage the complex operations of the City of Chicago and better deliver on key services.
Financial Responsibility: This budget continues its promise to its workforce and pensioners by making a $307 million the supplemental payment to the City’s four pension funds, ensuring the continued growth in each pension funds funded ratio. This year’s budget also includes payment of approximately $1 billion in the principal amount of debt, freeing up our capacity for investments in priorities such as our lead service line replacement program, our airport modernization programs, and more.
Mayor Johnson concluded, "It is truly an honor to present this budget. It is an honor to serve as your Mayor. Let us take this first step together toward restoring the Soul of our city and making it work better for all. Chicago is the greatest city in the world, and that we have the power to make it even greater."
The budget will now go under consideration by the City Council, with a series of hearings by the Committee on Budget and Government Operations, starting Monday, October 16, before final approval.
To view the City Council’s budget hearings, visit chicityclerk.com.
To view a copy of the 2024 Budget Documents visit: chi.gov/2024BudgetDocuments