The following statement addresses Chicago’s proposed budget for 2021, amid the ongoing economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the voice for Chicago’s business community and their employees, we have heard firsthand of the significant challenges many have faced over the past several months from the ongoing economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of civil unrest. Many have endured and continue to navigate through significant losses in revenue and product, increased operations and safety costs and gut-wrenching decisions to furlough and lay-off workers.

We commend the Mayor and her administration for introducing a budget that reflects some of these challenges, but more work is needed. The proposed budget calls for $185 million in property tax and revenue increases, that undoubtedly will place further strain on already struggling families and businesses, particularly small businesses. Employers and families cannot afford new taxes that will slow down business growth, which ultimately stunts hiring and impacts residents and consumers throughout Chicago.

Before any further property tax or revenue increases are considered, we urge Congress to provide further COVID-19 assistance and the Mayor and City Council to wait for these additional resources and identify further reductions and efficiencies in government. The business community understands there is a cost to government, but there needs to be shared sacrifice. Any revenue enhancements should not hinder our prospects for an economic recovery, and we need new businesses, new jobs, and new taxpayers for our City to recover. We stand ready to work with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, the Mayor and City Council and look forward to helping pass a budget that ensures critical services continue, but is also reflective of the times and the immense impact the pandemic has had on our businesses and workers,” said Jack Lavin, President & Chief Executive Officer, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.