Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Hinz: City projects lowest deficit in a decade

So perhaps Rahm Emanuel finally has displayed some financial acumen:
In a statement, Emanuel praised the moves under his direction to end the use of one-time revenues, gradually restore actuarial funding levels to the city's four major pension systems, exchange variable-rate debt for fixed-rate securities, trim spending (Emanuel claims $600 million in cuts) and phase out by 2019 the use of "scoop and toss" financing, in which the city delays repayment of both loan principle and interest.

"We are more financially secure today than we were six years ago," said Emanuel, who took office in 2011 and soon will have to decide whether to seek a new term in the 2019 election.

Emanuel has had the benefit of a much better economy than predecessor Richard M. Daley did. City Hall says vacancies in city factories are at the lowest rate in 15 years and occupancy of downtown office space at the highest level since 2008—though Crain's reporting shows that market is softening.

Still, the city faces some continuing fiscal headwinds: It needs hundreds of millions of dollars more each year by early in the next decade to completely stabilize the four pension funds, and city sales tax revenues are slowly decreasing.

Beyond that, city labor unions can be expected to try to benefit from the better times, and the mayor will be under continuing pressure to spend money to try and curb the city's horrific murder wave.

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