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IGO- 2011 Budget Options- September 27, 2011-Final

IGO- 2011 Budget Options- September 27, 2011-Final

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Published by: chicagotribune on Sep 27, 2011
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01/09/2012

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866-IG-TIPLINE (866-448-4754)www.chicagoinspectorgeneral.org
 
 IGO Budget Options 2011 September 27, 2011www.chicagoinspectorgeneral.orgPage
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Joseph M. Ferguson
 Inspector General 
 
OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
City of Chicago 
180 N.Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000Chicago,Illinois 60601Telephone: (773) 478-7799Fax: (773) 478-3949
 
September 26, 2011To the Mayor, Members of the City Council, the City Clerk, the City Treasurer, and the residents of the City of Chicago:
Enclosed for your review is the IGO‟s Annual Budget Options for the City of Chicago. This rep
ort contains 63options to decrease City spending or increase revenue. For each option, we present an overview and an estimateof the savings or increased revenue that the option would generate. Additionally, we include brief discussionsof what proponents might argue in support of the option and, conversely, what opponents might argue againstthe option. Finally, we have added a section this year for more complex or controversial options that providesan additional discussion of the option and additional information decision makers might want in decidingwhether or not to implement the option.The impetus for this report is to fulfill a component of the core mission of IGO: promoting effectiveness andefficiency in City operations. A City government that spends more than it brings in cannot long be effective;budgets that carry forward the waste and ineffective aspects of prior budgets cannot serve the cause of 
efficiency. When the 2012 budget deficit of $635 million is combined with the City‟s pension
system fundingshortfalls, Chicago faces an effective annual deficit of $1.2 billion.Over the last year, general fiscal and economic conditions have become only worse. Concerns about a double-dip recession, the recent federal deficit ceiling controversy, and the emerging understanding of the dimensionsand gravity of the structural deficits of the federal and Illinois state governments means the City will likely beunable to look elsewhere for reprieve from its fiscal challenges. To balance its budget, the City therefore mustbegin to reduce its spending through restructuring its operations, eliminating programs and subsidies, increasingrevenue by increasing taxes and fees, or undertaking some combination of the two. This will require difficultchoices.It is our hope that these options help positively influence forthcoming budget decisions. These options comefrom a wide range of sources, including discussions with City officials, IGO work product, and public input.Fundamentally, the inclusion of any option in this report is not and should not be construed as an endorsement
 by the IGO. The report‟s intent is not to advocate for specific ways for the City to confront its fiscal
difficulties, but rather to provide information to elected officials and the public to inform the debate over how toconfront these challenges in a way that results in a budget that moves the City to greater efficiency andeffectiveness. The report is intended merely to provide a background and framework for more detailed analysisand public discussion.
 
 IGO Budget Options 2011 September 27, 2011www.chicagoinspectorgeneral.orgPage
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This year, we have again endeavored to identify options from most service sectors of City government, withoutregard to size or importance of the service. Additionally, we have significantly increased the number of optionsfor raising revenue while expanding the number of options that would cut spending.We note that some of the options in this report cannot be immediately implemented due to the need for planningto restructure the delivery of services, require changes in State law, or because of provisions in collectivebargaining agreements. To the extent that certain options are not available for immediate implementation, wehope that they may inform future discussions about steps the City can take to address its structural budgetdeficit. In particular, they might inform negotiations with various unions, whether in the form of renegotiationof existing collective bargaining agreements or negotiation of new terms for those expiring in the near future.A major change this year is that each option is also published on our website along with many of the
calculations and data that underlie each option. We will update each option‟s web page as we receive more
information, comments, questions, and criticisms of individual options. We encourage interested parties to usethe data to further analyze these options and examine our underlying calculations. Also, visitors to the site willbe able to leave comments on each of the options.In our continuing effort to be full
y responsive to the City‟s challenges and supportive of the efforts of the
Mayor and City Council in meeting those challenges, we welcome any suggestions or comments you may haveon how to improve the report. Additionally, we welcome, for consideration and analysis, your ideas for how theCity might confront its budget deficit. We may include your options in a future report. Please send yoursuggestions, comments, questions, corrections, and criticisms to budgetoptions@chicagoinspectorgeneral.org  .Respectfully,Joseph M. FergusonInspector GeneralCity of Chicago
 

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