Members of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce have lauded the efforts of Chicago's lawmakers in passing the city's 2016 budget.
The City Council passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget by a 36-14 margin. It included a $588 million property tax increase to fund police and fire pensions.
"The Mayor should be recognized for his leadership in putting the city on a path toward fiscal stability," a release from the chamber said.
The chamber noted that the business community has concerns about two aspects of the Mayor’s budget.
"First, the Mayor is proposing to mitigate the effects of the property tax increase for residential homeowners by doubling the homeowners’ exemption," the release continued. "This would shift more of the property tax increase onto businesses large and small."
Secondly, the chamber said the $588 million property tax increase assumes that the Governor will sign Senate Bill 777, providing the city with more time to meet the actuarial required contributions to the police and fire pensions.
"Without the Governor’s signature, Chicago taxpayers will be asked for an additional $221 million for the police and fire pension funds, a burden which will be disproportionately borne by the business community," the statement continued.
Emanuel has called on all city stakeholders to make sacrifices to retain Chicago's vibrancy.
"(Emanuel's) exemption proposal is not reflective of that call," the chamber release said. "We are opposed to the Mayor’s proposal to shift the property tax burden onto businesses through a doubling of the homeowners’ exemption."
Michael Reever, vice president of government relations for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber supports Senate Bill 777, which allows the city more time to meet the required police and fire pension payments.
"The business community believes that leaving the homeowners exemption as is and signing Senate Bill 777 into law once released by the Illinois Senate is a more appropriate shared sacrifice,” he said.