CHICAGO—In a departure from the budgetary norms of the past, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s first budget for the city of Chicago has been unveiled, offering a relatively conservative approach to citywide spending and staffing.

With a total budget of approximately $18.2 billion, this fiscal plan stands out for its ability to close the projected $538 million budget gap without resorting to tax or fee hikes or layoffs.

The budget announcement has sparked interest and curiosity throughout the Windy City, as the overall spending growth outlined within the budget proposal falls below the historic rate of change for city budgets. However, it’s worth noting that staffing increases are slightly higher than the city’s average.

The city’s policymakers and residents are now eager to delve into the nitty-gritty details of this budget, as City Council’s departmental budget hearings are set to kick off. Throughout this process, the Better Government Association Policy Team will play a crucial role by providing snapshots of individual departments’ budgets. Their focus will extend beyond just departmental budgets to encompass the non-departmental “finance general” category as well.

In particular, they will be examining major changes in the current year, any new or substantially increased expense categories, and any adjustments in the allocation of budgeted staff positions.

As the City of Chicago enters this new era of budgetary management under Mayor Brandon Johnson, the Better Government Association’s Budget Snapshot initiative promises to be an invaluable resource for residents and stakeholders eager to understand how this budget will shape the future of the city. The stage is set for a thorough analysis of every budgetary aspect, ensuring transparency and accountability in the allocation of public resources.

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