Mayor Emanuel’s First Budget Passes Unanimously

16 11 2011

The City Council voted today to pass Mayor Emanuel’s budget unanimously, 50-0. Chicago News Coop reporters Hunter Clauss and Dan Mihalopoulos described Aldermen’s comments as “near worshipful” though not without acknowledging the necessary pain that will come with cuts to front-line workers, library and mental services, and elsewhere.

The budget affects deep cuts, particularly around staffing, to close the $600+ million budget deficit the city faced. The budget came in at $6.3 billion. Aldermen lauded the Mayor for being inclusive in the planning process. While under Mayor Daley unanimous budget votes were often used as evidence that the Council was a mere “rubber stamp” for the Mayor’s prerogative, a unanimity does not necessarily entail that. Aldermen seemed to feel like they got their words in during the preparation process, which is arguably much more important than voting against the final budget. Tracking how the budget has changed from its initial form to today would be more instructive; unfortunately that process is not particularly transparent, or at least self-evident.

AFSCME Council 31, which represents thousands of city workers, released a statement upon passage of the budget bemoaning the deep cuts to basic and needed social services:

“We’re very disappointed that aldermen have voted to reduce access to libraries, cut mental health services, privatize health clinics and cut hundreds of good jobs. Many aldermen voiced serious concerns about these cuts today. While the vote is over, the work of minimizing these harmful cuts is an ongoing process in which AFSCME and our labor and community allies will be fully engaged.

Yesterday, mental health advocates staged a sit-in outside the Mayor’s office that lasted into the evening to protest the cutting of services at about half of the city’s mental health facilities:

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Some of the official Twitter chatter:

  1. We’re redefining “The Chicago Way” #ChiBudget RT @chicagotribune: Emanuel’s budget unanimously approved trib.in/siHc4G
  2. This year, “the City taxpayer took priority over the City payroll.”-Mayor Emanuel (live) ow.ly/7vMFX #chibudget
  3. Statement from Alderman William D. Burns regarding the City Council budget vote – olourl.com/1aS/yC
  4. Not surprised by the City Council’s unanimous approval of the budget. Chatted w/ the Mayor at dinner last night, he was relaxed as could be.
  5. RT @maryannahern: Chicago City Council unanimously approve MRE first budget in roll call vote #ChiCouncil #RahmChicago
  6. MRE says budget was an honest one, city taxpayer was priority, end of day couldn’t cut our way to a balanced budget #chicouncil #chibudget
  7. The ayes have it with a 50 to 0 vote. #chibudget #chicouncil
  8. RT @maryannahern: Chicago City Council unanimously approve MRE first budget in roll call vote #ChiCouncil #RahmChicago
  9. RT @ChiCityCouncil: @AldReilly “This is a painful austerity budget… that said, this is the type of budget the city has needed for several years”.
  10. This is an important time for the city of Chicago, and we must give this budget a chance to address difficult decisions #Sawyer on budget
  11. City budget looks like it’s headed toward unanimous vote. Protesters are screaming in gallery above the chamber.
  12. @AldTomTunney:”Budget is a step in the right direction…struggle is to make city more liveable for everybody” #chibudget #chicouncil
  13. RT @dmihalopoulos: finally: @FiorettiChicago will vote yes bc “this budget does put us on the path of being a financially sustainable city.” #chibudget #rahm
  14. City Council debating budget now. Joe Moore and Pat Dowell have spoken in support.

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