The falling out between the new mayor and the Bring Chicago Home coalition that once regarded her as an important ally comes as Lightfoot prepares for an Aug. 29 bad news budget presentation that is bound to leave additional constituencies disenchanted.
By Mark Brown
The honeymoon is coming to a rocky end for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
On Tuesday, leaders of a campaign to use a Chicago real estate transfer tax increase to fund an aggressive effort to reduce homelessness slammed the new mayor for abandoning their cause now that she’s eyeing the same revenue source to help balance her first budget.
“We’re deeply disappointed that Mayor Lightfoot broke her campaign promise to support the Bring Chicago Home proposal. In addition, she did so without making any attempt first to collaborate with the community,” said Julie Dworkin, policy director for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, accusing the mayor of “business-as-usual” politics.
The falling out between the new mayor and the Bring Chicago Home coalition that once regarded her as an important ally comes as Lightfoot prepares for an August 29 bad news budget presentation that is bound to leave additional constituencies disenchanted.
During the mayoral campaign, Lightfoot burnished her progressive credentials by repeatedly promising support for a plan patterned after the one advanced by Bring Chicago Home — using funds from a tax on the sale of high-end real estate to support construction of affordable housing and expand homeless services. Her housing transition team listed it as a priority.
Since the election, however, Lightfoot has given the group conflicting signals, encouraging them to continue their efforts to seek a binding referendum while warning that the city’s fiscal problems were worse than former Mayor Rahm Emanuel had made known.
Any hope the mayor still intended to keep her promise vanished after an interview last week with city Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara by Sun-Times’ City Hall reporter Fran Spielman in which Novara began laying the groundwork for the boss’ reversal.
The Sun-Times reported Lightfoot now is planning to ask the General Assembly to authorize the city to raise the transfer tax on $1 million-plus properties — without going through a referendum. But she wants to use the anticipated $120 million revenue to help close the $1 billion budget hole created in large part by scheduled contributions due the city’s underfunded pension plans…