City budget for dummies with Council Office of Financial Analysis

In a first-ever audio interview, Dave Glowacz talked with Jonathan Silverstein, a budget analyst with the Chicago City Council Office of Financial Analysis (COFA). Silverstein laid out a 2020 "city budget for dummies."

Glowacz quizzed Silverstein about the little-known COFA and its assessment of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's 2020 Chicago budget. Among the things they discussed:

  • How COFA has come unleashed—and why it's still "hamstrung."
  • The evolving relationship of COFA with the City Council's finance and budget committees.
  • COFA will soon report on what led to Chicago's projected 2020 deficit—including the city's rampant borrowing and the state's pension law.
  • Past administrations "always, always" low-balled their budgets for lawsuit settlements—which has had a lasting effect.
  • Though the mayor touted "zero based budgeting," we have "no way of verifying that."
  • The city continues a legacy method of cost savings: a slow-down in hiring.
  • The Law Dept. could boost revenue if it "lawyers up." Meanwhile, it chafes at the bit of Shakman hiring rules.

Length 6.2 minutes standard, 36.5 minutes premium.

Music: "I'm On My Way" by Cullah

Standard audio:

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Report: "Mayor Lightfoot's 2020 Budget Recommendations: Analysis of Spending Priorities"