Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot faces a difficult road ahead as she tackles the city's fiscal crisis and a budget deficit of up to $1 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Lightfoot this fall must put together a 2020 city budget that is expected to have a deficit of $700 million. Her televised speech Thursday night will address the problem and outline solutions.
"This is about as anticipated of a speech by a mayor in decades," Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a business-backed city watchdog, told the Journal. "The mayor does not have an easy, politically attractive path forward."
Lightfoot made history when she was voted into office as the first black woman and first gay mayor of Chicago. She also inherited an enormous budget shortfall, which she is attempting to address in her first 100 days in office.
Lightfoot's administration will have to find new revenue sources and is reportedly considering a property tax increase, an unpopular choice.
"Going to property taxes is something that I want to try to avoid, but I can't in good conscience at this point take that off the table," she told CBS 2 earlier this week.
The Journal reports she will likely need to rely on spending cuts and tax increases, too.
Mary Tarullo, associate director of policy and strategy for the Bring Chicago Home coalition, says Lightfoot should keep her campaign promises.
"The mayor knew about the budget shortfall when she was running for mayor. We all knew about the budget shortfall, and she still committed to bring Chicago home," Tarullo told the Chicago Tribune. "We expect her to follow through on the commitments she made to us through the campaign."
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