Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered an update to her transition team on her first 100 days in office this week, and as she prepares for a major speech on Thursday night, she’s setting the table for a difficult talk while holding back when it comes to revealing her plans.
Lightfoot, who will deliver a “state of the city” address on Thursday, showed a video of testimonials of testimonials on how her administration is laying the foundation for change, and spoke emotionally about what it’s been like to visit with young people in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence.
“I’ve seen firsthand what is lost when a young person can’t see how great their potential is,” Lightfoot said in a Wednesday speech.
In addition to the scourge of gun violence, Lightfoot is also contending with a massive budget deficit as the city must pay workers their pensions and negotiate new contracts for teachers, police, and firefighters, and city residents are concerned about whether their taxes will go up to address the shortfalls.
“I don’t think we have the luxury of ruling anything out yet,” she said. “People do have strong feelings about certain revenue changes, including property taxes.”
While Lightfoot hasn’t revealed specific proposals to deal with the budget shortfall, activists and City Council members are criticizing her actions in her first 100 days in office to deal with the problems.
“If there’s billions of dollars for Lincoln Yards, and to entice Amazon to come here, there’s more money that can be put into our mental health system,” 10th Ward Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza said.
“Enough with the regressive revenue measures. It’s time for progressive revenue measures. It’s time to tax the rich,” 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa added.
Aldermen have received budget briefings, but they mayor is not ready to detail her line-by-line solutions.
Aldermen have said that this is the first time they’ve been asked for input before the mayor’s office delivered the budget to them for consideration.
The mayor’s speech will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday evening, and it will air on NBC 5 and stream live on the NBC Chicago app.