A financial watchdog gave the city of Chicago a failing grade for its finances in a report that highlights the city's growing debt load.
Truth in Accounting released its yearly report on the city's finances Wednesday. The nonprofit group's report, which was based on Chicago's latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, found that every taxpayer in the city would have to pay $38,100 to pay off the city's debts. That's $2,100 more per taxpayer than last year. The increase was largely due to the city's growing pension costs.
Debt from Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Transit Authority was not included in the analysis because they are separate taxing entities, the report noted.
"We found that Chicago’s leaders have failed to address the structural problems weakening its financial system, instead plugging the holes with short-term fixes," TIA CEO Sheila Weinberg said in a statement. "When the bills come due, Chicago politicians are going to face a lose-lose dilemma: Reduce services and benefits, or fix the problem on the backs of future taxpayers."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said residents will have to pay more, but she hasn't offered details on how she plans to increase revenue.
"It is no secret that our city faces extraordinary financial challenges, driven by a legacy of pension liabilities, mounting personnel contract increases, and growing debt service obligations – all of which have been long in the making," Lightfoot wrote in a letter with the city's latest audit. "While these costs loom large for next year and beyond, our administration will be looking at how city government functions to develop a sustainable road map for the future."