Home News Brandon Johnson’s bond initiative holds promise

Brandon Johnson’s bond initiative holds promise


Brandon Johnson's bond initiative holds promise

On the face of it, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s proposal to float up to $1.25 billion in bonds for housing and economic development makes financial sense.

The mayor has seized on an idea hatched in the Lori Lightfoot administration to use a coming increase in revenue from the expiration of dozens of tax increment financing districts around the city to back bonds that would give the city access to that cash now instead of waiting for the gradual expiration of those TIFs. Part of the argument for taking on the debt tied to this initiative is that the city, like other local governments, is facing a significant revenue decline soon as federal pandemic assistance runs its course.

Adding to the initiative’s appeal: Unlike the ill-thought-out Bring Chicago Home program, which voters rejected in the March 19 primary, there’s no commensurate tax increase to pay for it. These are existing property tax revenues being moved from one bucket (TIF) to another (the city’s general fund). The bonds would restrict these funds to designated uses — affordable housing and economic development in city neighborhoods, particularly those that most need it.

This is a plan worthy of serious consideration by the City Council.

So why are we queasy?

The Johnson team’s struggles to manage implementation of both the ideas on which it campaigned and the sorts of problems with which every mayor is confronted have created a crisis of confidence in the mayor’s office for a substantial number of aldermen, the business community and, most importantly, the public. The Progressive Caucus of the City Council recognized as much in its usefully self-aware statement last Monday following the Bring Chicago Home defeat, saying its members understood the loss reflected distrust in the powers that be at City Hall.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here