“People who run for public office to serve the need of the public are problem solvers. People who run for office to serve themselves are politicians.”

Four steps for the Budget as Successful Long-term Financial Plan

1.) Perform Effective Budget Planning and Management
2.) Monetize the Budget to help cover costs and expenses.
3.) Reverse the “Cost Drivers”
4.) Invest in Areas that Create Conditions for Growth

Invest in Areas that Create Conditions for Growth

When the budget is a long-term financial plan, it includes investments in areas that will help create conditions conducive to City growth and wealth. The following areas are some of the most important for the City and its residents:

Quality Schools

Communities must have quality schools if they are to prosper and grow. Developing and implementing long-term financial plans that bring budgetary and resource stability and continuity to schools, that prioritize ensuring all classrooms have the consistent support and resources they need, and that implement proven programs and strategies that can help neighborhood schools become more attractive will enable the schools to grow and prosper. For example, with the State pension funding equity for Chicago teachers’ pensions “normal cost” (the employee contribution for new obligations), the CPS pension contribution is effectively capped. CPS can now focus on developing a long-term financial plan that invests in the type of programs and supports that produce growth in student enrollment and improvements in student attendance, increasing Districts State and Federal income and CPSs funds to deliver quality education to the children of Chicago.

Economic Opportunity for All

Individuals in every Chicago neighborhood need to be able to access equitable economic development resources and supports in order to create real economic opportunities in ALL communities. This has been portrayed as an issue from a lack of resources but is really an issue of the City’s priorities, channels for community input, and the City’s provision for fair access. True economic opportunity for all in Chicago is about taking politics out of the economic development and resource distribution formulas and practices. Much can be accomplished, and scores of ignored and marginalized communities and citizens helped by doing this.

Progressive Tax and Fee Policies

Taxes and fees must be progressive and affordable, and fines must not be so oppressive that they drive thousands of families and businesses toward bankruptcy. It’s important to not burden families and businesses that their ability to invest, support business, and otherwise participate in Chicago life is not impeded. City’s growth is impacted by the cost of government; the more regressive the burden of government the more adverse the impact on Chicagoan’s purchasing power and investment.

Infrastructure Improvement and Maintenance

The City must not only address its major infrastructure needs but also the smaller critical needs of homeowners and small businesses, including such things as clean water, flood prevention, resurfaced streets, available parking, access to public transportation, and access to technology and sufficient internet. Infrastructure improvement and maintenance must be done proactively, not reactively, and considered a component of a sustainable long-term financial plan.

Public Safety

Effective and sufficient public safety means having enough police, detectives, and special units in the right locations to ensure that safe communities have the resources to be safer and unsafe communities have the resources they need to be safe. This is as much an issue of resource management as it is of changing budget priorities and allocating new public safety resources. Sufficient and sustained staffing levels, adequate supervision and training, and effective “non-political” resource management will go a long way to improving efficiency and reducing excess costs like overtime and the lawsuits and legal fees that have cost the City hundreds of millions of dollars. This increased efficiency will help offset the costs of increasing the number of officers in needed areas.

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