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City Council Passes Mayor Brandon Johnson’s 2024 People’s Budget

Mayor Brandon Johnson

Budget includes significant investments in re-entry, climate justice and support for the unhoused, without raising property taxes.

The Chicago City Council, in a decisive 41-8 vote, greenlit Mayor Brandon Johnson’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget, commonly known as the “People’s Budget.” This financial plan, totaling $16.77 billion, strategically directs resources toward key areas such as public safety, mental health care, youth programs, infrastructure, crisis management, homelessness response, climate justice, and equity.

Reflecting on this accomplishment, Mayor Johnson expressed pride in the approval of the People’s Budget, emphasizing its close alignment with the city’s values and the deliberate avoidance of placing undue financial burdens on working individuals and families. He remarked, “I am proud to pass the People’s Budget – a budget based on our values that is not balanced on the backs of working people and working families.”

City of Chicago Budget Director Annette Guzman lauded the budget for its dual commitment to addressing the needs of disinvested communities and maintaining fiscal responsibility. She sees this budget as a transformative step, positioning the city for strategic and impactful investments in the future.

One notable allocation in the budget is over $100 million earmarked for public safety initiatives, covering anti-violence programming, restorative justice efforts, and gender-based violence prevention and intervention. A budget amendment introduces the Office of Re-entry, supported by a $5 million budget, aiming to provide essential support for formerly incarcerated Chicagoans and reduce recidivism.

Mental health care receives a substantial boost, with an investment exceeding $66 million. This funding aims to expand the city’s mental health care system, increasing staffing in public clinics and 911 response teams by almost 75% and doubling the staff on CARE 911 alternate response teams. The budget also lays the groundwork for reopening mental health facilities across the city.

Youth programs are a significant focus, with more than $76 million allocated. This investment supports summer and year-round youth employment programs within city departments and organizations throughout the city. Building on the success of the 2023 One Summer Chicago program, which increased youth employment by almost 20%, the 2024 budget aims to add 4,000 more jobs.

Infrastructure emerges as a key pillar of the budget, with a comprehensive investment exceeding $1 billion. This covers capital improvements, bike lane infrastructure, lead service line replacement programs, Home Repair programs, and Home Modification programs.

Addressing the pressing issue of homelessness, the budget earmarks over $250 million. This includes increased funding for the Flexible Housing Pool and successful rapid rehousing programs. An additional $150 million is allocated for the Department of Family and Support Services and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to manage the New Arrivals Mission.

The budget marks the re-establishment of the Department of Environment, with a focus on environmental and climate resiliency efforts. Climate justice initiatives will target disinvested areas of the city disproportionately impacted by extreme weather events.

Equity is interwoven throughout the budget, with initiatives like the Equity Line Replacement program in lead service line replacement. A budget amendment allocates over $500,000 for a new Commission on Restoration and Reparations, showcasing a commitment to addressing historical injustices.

Mayor Johnson summed up the significance of the People’s Budget, stating, “From making historic investments in our young people to making critical investments in mental health care and public safety, this budget is close to the heart and soul of who we are, and what we represent as a city.” The budget’s approval marks a significant step forward for Chicago, signaling a commitment to inclusive growth, social justice, and fiscal responsibility. It sets the stage for transformative change, aligning with Mayor Johnson’s vision for a city that prioritizes its residents, particularly those in historically marginalized communities.

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