My Support of the 2022 Budget Vote
Our lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. But even before the pandemic, decades of divestment from public services and programs plagued our communities. Unprecedented times demand historic investments. That's why I fought for and signed on to the Chicago Rescue Plan's investment of ARPA funds, which significantly benefits residents here now.
We demanded that the funds be invested in our communities. We proposed $1.9 billion to expand our public health system, increase our ability to meet affordable housing needs, prevent homelessness, support small businesses and the arts, and provide direct cash assistance to the people who need it the most. The Mayor initially proposed using these funds to pay debts, essentially giving our federal recovery funds to Wall Street.
Because of strong community support for the investments in the Chicago Rescue Plan and the efforts of movement groups around the city, we progressive Alderpersons were able to see $1.2 billion of these funds reflected in the budget. The 2022 Budget reflects so much of what community, movement groups, and progressive Alderpeople have been fighting for:
The biggest investments in mental health in more than a decade, including 29 new public positions.
Substantial investments in housing and homelessness prevention, including $5 million to preserve single-room occupancy buildings and more than $100 million to support permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing, and diversion housing. Additionally, this budget doubles the homeless outreach prevention team staff.
A $25 million increase in gender-based violence funding, including dedicated funds for housing support for survivors.
Over $100 million in new investments to support environmental justice and clime-related issues in our city.
A $30 million guaranteed income pilot that will provide direct cash assistance for individuals and families who need it most, as well as an additional $40 million in other cash assistance for families.
These are the reasons I voted in favor of the 2022 Budget - it's a budget that actually listens to the people and seeks to address the needs of Chicagoans in ways that we haven't seen before.
But there are still places where this budget falls short. I voted against the 2021 Appropriation Amendment presented to us on Wednesday because Chicagoans need more than what the amendment provided. While the city has debt obligations to fulfill, the people of Chicago have great needs as well. In principle, I can't support the deliverance of nearly half a billion dollars of our money to Chase Bank, effectively prioritizing the bank over people. Even with the historic investments we won in this budget, our communities' needs call for us to do more. More for mental health, more for affordable housing, and more for violence prevention. And we won't stop fighting for these demands. Now that the 2022 Budget has passed, it's up to us to implement the programs to ensure these investments are implemented in a way that improves our lives and communities.
Ald. Hadden Update from October 31, 2021
Next Wednesday, City Council will be voting on the 2022 Budget. The initial proposal from the Mayor was promising as it included investments that I and others championed in the Chicago Recovery Plan. We sought investments in Affordable Housing, Assistance to Families, Violence Prevention, Mental Health, Homelessness Support, Youth Programs, Small Business Support and Environmental Programs to be prioritized with the $1.9B in American Rescue Plan funds - the proposed budget promised $1.2B to meet these demands. Our coalition introduced amendments to further increase public mental health investments, find savings in surplus police vacancies, secure commitments for SRO (single room occupancy) housing preservation, cancel the ShotSpotter contract, increase the budget for the forestry bureau for tree trimming crews, and create an accountability committee for the implementation of ARPA funded projects. I and other progressive alderpersons worked with citywide table or progressive, movement organizations to advance these budget priorities. Check out the WTTW coverage of the wins here.
Below, you find graphics showing:
City Progressive Budget Coalition Chicago Rescue Plan Demands - what we've fought for and what we've won!
Additional Progressive Budget Wins in the 2022 Budget - we were able to negotiate some the largest investments in services in ANY Chicago budget.
Where we landed on other proposed amendments and priorities.
Yesterday, the final amended budget was presented to the Budget Committee and passed. There are 35 members on the Budget Committee. Five, conservative members voted against the budget. I do not serve on the committee, so have not yet cast a vote on this proposal. However, after feedback from our residents through the two town halls I held, the results of the budget survey, and our city-wide coalition reaching agreement on accepting the offered concessions on Mental Health and the SROs as presented in the amended budget, I do feel like this is a budget I can support. Let me know what questions or concerns that you have by reaching out to me at the firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-338-5796.
49th Ward Budget Survey Results
Thank you to everyone who participated in our town halls and budget survey this month to make sure Alderwoman Hadden can make a decision rooted in the priorities of 49th Ward residents. This year, 166 people completed the survey. We asked you to prioritize categories of City Services and then to indicate your level or support or opposition to amendment proposals.
If you missed the virtual town halls hosted by the Alderwoman, you can watch the recordings here: Oct. 6 Town Hall, Oct. 20 Town Hall.
The above graph shows the prioritization of ten city service categories by respondents. 1 was the highest level of priority and 10 was the lowest. Residents ranked Housing & Development, Community Services (libraries, youth programs), and Crisis Intervention & Violence Interruption were the top three categories based on the responses.
The charts below show the levels of support for each of the presented amendments with 5 being strong support and 1 being strong opposition. All four proposals gained moderate to strong support of more than 50% of respondents with more funding for Mental Health/Crisis Response and Increasing the Real Estate Transfer Tax receiving more than 60% in strong support alone.
Complete the 49th Ward Budget Survey
Last month, Mayor Lightfoot unveiled her budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year. Included in this year's budget proposal is the allocation of $1.89 billion in federal funding that was allocated to Chicago through the American Rescue Plan Act.
We want to hear your thoughts on the budget proposal! Please take a moment to complete the 49th Ward budget survey online to help us identify the priorities of 49th Ward residents. Your responses will help inform Alderwoman Hadden as we enter discussions for next year's budget.
Our office will share the results of this survey during our budget town hall (October 20). The budget survey will close on October 18.
Take the online survey: bit.ly/2022Budget49
Sign up to attend the town hall: bit.ly/2022BudgetTownHall
49th Ward Virtual Town Hall October 20
The 49th Ward will host another budget town hall on Wednesday, October 20, at 6 pm. We will go over the budget proposal and amendments leading up to the final vote on October 27. We will also go over the 49th Ward budget survey results.
Register to attend the meeting at bit.ly/2000BudgetTownHall. Spanish translation will be available.
49th Ward Virtual Town Hall October 6
Join the 49th Ward office on Wednesday, October 6, at 6 PM via zoom for our monthly town hall! Ald. Hadden will share updates on the 2022 budget proposal and hear feedback from residents.
Register at: bit.ly/2022budgettownhall.
Mayor Lightfoot Unveils 2022 Budget Proposal
On Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year. The budget proposal includes $1.89 billion in federal funding allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Heading into the budget hearings, the city faces an estimated $733 million budget gap for 2021. The Mayor is proposing to close that budget gap by allocating ARPA funds as revenue replacement. The mayor and budget team are also setting aside ARPA funds for revenue replacement in 2022 ($385 million), and holding $152.4 million for the 2023 budget (when ARPA funds run out).
The proposal calls for the remaining ARPA funds to be applied to the budget office's Chicago Recovery Plan proposal, which uses both ARPA funding and general obligation bonds to lift Chicago out of the pandemic and on a path towards recovery. The $1.227 billion spending plan focuses on two goals: thriving and safe communities and equitable economic recovery.
Some of the key features of the plan include:
$31.5 million for a guaranteed basic income pilot, which would provide 5,000 families with a monthly stipend of $500 (Chairman Villegas, Alderwoman King, and I introduced a resolution in July calling for GBI hearings)
$25 million for gender-based violence reduction
$20 million for mental health equity
$15 million for the 911 alternative response model
$5 million to establish a new sobering center facility
$45 million for community safety and violence reduction
$20 million for youth intervention programs
$10 million for a youth justice diversion program
$86.8 million for environmental justice (which includes expanding the tree canopy, neighborhood climate resiliency projects, environmental justice/hazard program, and environmental reviews)
$117 million for homelessness support services (including permanent supportive housing, non-congregate housing, rapid rehousing, shelter infrastructure investments, and high utilize diversion housing)
$65 million for youth programs
$16 million for artist relief and works fund and Together We Heal place-making grants
$101.3 million for community climate investments (includes climate-related infrastructure investments and energy efficiency and renewable energy projects)
$60.6 million for parks and infrastructure
$10 million for a re-entry workforce program for formerly incarcerated individuals
$20 million to promote Chicago as a tourist destination
The 2022 corporate budget proposal doesn't include any new fines, fees, or taxes (outside of the automatic property tax hikes) for Chicago residents. However, it does call for an increase in the Police Department budget by 11%. This increase is a result of contractual obligations under the new FOP contract, on which I voted no.
As we enter the budget season, I will be scrutinizing the line-by-line budget proposal closely to ensure that we are building back better. We have a unique opportunity to lift our city out of the pandemic through the use of ARPA funds. Currently, the budget proposal calls for 70% of those funds to be allocated towards revenue replacement.
For months, my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus and I have been championing legislation that calls for the allocation of ARPA funds to go towards housing assistance, homelessness prevention and resources, guaranteed basic income, mental health services, violence prevention, alternative crisis response, mental health resources, gender-based violence resources, and more. While I applaud the Mayor and her team for listening to these calls from City Council, she did not include us in those discussions. As we look over the first draft of the budget, I urge the Mayor to work with us to fine-tune these proposals so we can truly lift Chicago out of this pandemic.
As we enter 2022, we have an opportunity and responsibility to create a values-based budget that answers the needs of our residents. I will not support anything less than that.
To view all of the 2022 budget documents, visit the city's website by clicking here.
Host Your Own Budget Party
Chicago's City Budget process is beginning this month and Alderwoman Hadden wants to hear what 49th Ward residents want to see in the budget. People's Budget Chicago is in their second year of engaging everyday Chicagoans in conversations and activities about our budget. You can sign up to host your own budget party in our community. You'll receive a People's Budget kit, demo video, and optional one-on-one support. You can sign up here: www.peoplesbudgetchicago.com.