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Emanuel’s final city budget moves to vote after midterm elections

Following the excitement of Tuesday’s midterm election, aldermen pushed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2019 city budget closer to a final vote Wednesday.

With Democrat J.B. Pritzker’s victory over Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, and Democrat Kwame Raoul’s successful defeat of Republican Erika Harold for attorney general, many aldermen were excited about what this could mean for the city.

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) said most election years see a city budget pass without much pushback.

“There are no new fees, taxes, raises and everybody generally appreciates that,” he said.

Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th) emphasized that the upcoming vote on Emanuel’s $10.67 billion budget has nothing to do with the mayor not seeking reelection.

“I honestly think the majority of people who are supporting [the budget] are supporting it on its merits,” he said.

Though likely to vote in favor of the budget, some aldermen believe it’s still flawed.

“My preference would be to build a budget from the ground up, line item by line item,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said.

“It’s called zero-based budgeting ― where each department comes in with zero dollars in their budget and they justify division by division why they need these people, explain what they do and how much they should be paid,” he said.

Reilly, who is personal friends with Raoul and his wife, was overjoyed with the news of last night’s wins.

“I was up at 3:30 in the morning yesterday, working until 9 o’clock last night,” he said. “We were supporting the Democratic ticket.”   

Aldermen are also starting to think ahead to the upcoming mayoral election in February and about where they will be putting support for candidates.

Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) said he will not consider voting for Comptroller Susana Mendoza as mayor of Chicago.

“She should’ve been honest with the voters when she decided to run for mayor and forgone the statewide election; we now have to waste some money because of her,” he said.

Muñoz, a self described member of “Team Chuy,” hasn’t decided who he will support just yet. He said he and other supporters of U.S. Representative-elect Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) are “probably going to wait until after the petitions are submitted to see who gets on the ballot.”

Ald. Brookins has thrown his support behind current Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who easily won reelection on Wednesday. “She’s a force to be reckoned with.”  

“Clearly a Garry McCarthy type will not be best for the African-American community,” he said referring to the former police superintendent running for mayor.

Final voting for the city budget has been deferred to November 14.

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