The 50-0 vote sets the city down a path next year of fee increases, layoffs of city workers and other belt-tightening measures.
Aldermen time and again said they appreciated the fact Emanuel's $6.3 billion plan deals honestly with the city's financial situation rather than "kicking the can down the road." They commended the new mayor for showing a willingness to work with them and compromise not often seen during the later years of
Many council members groused about particular parts of the budget during nearly two hours of testimony -- Emanuel's plan to close six city
Emanuel thanked aldermen for making his budget better and for putting "city taxpayers before the city payroll."
"We have a bright future, we have a strong future, this budget does not run away from that, it shapes it," Emanuel said.
Henry Bayer, executive director of the
"We're very disappointed that aldermen have voted to reduce access to libraries, cut mental health services, privatize health clinics and cut hundreds of good jobs," Bayer said in a statement. "Many aldermen voiced serious concerns about these cuts today. While the vote is over, the work of minimizing these harmful cuts is an ongoing process in which AFSCME and our labor and community allies will be fully engaged."
Emanuel’s budget passed without dissent despite “bad news” like fee increases and City Hall layoffs, and testimony from aldermen early on in the meeting indicates they are on board.
While crafting the plan, Emanuel promised to no longer “kick the can down the road,” a reference to recent budgets by
"It's obvious that when you we're a kid, you never learned the game of kick the can," said Ald.
, 33rd. "Everybody felt the pain. The only way you are going to make the gain is to feel the pain."
Mell said Emanuel did a good job of spreading the pain around. "To vote against this budget because of one item you thought is wrong would be a real mistake," he said.
In a point many longtime aldermen touched on over the past several months of budget discussions, Moore also mentioned Emanuel "has had an open door" to work with council members to tweak the plan, unlike Daley.
"We have to keep our neighborhoods in order, and you will pay," he said.
In recent weeks, the mayor compromised with aldermen to soften the blow of library cuts, spread out the pain of vehicle sticker fee price increases and keep more graffiti-erasing crews on the streets.