* Projected FY 2013 gap falls to $298 mln
* Gap lowest since economic recession
* Increases in most taxes off table in upcoming budget
CHICAGO, Sept 26 Some of Chicago's key revenue
sources came in over estimates in the first half of fiscal 2012,
while the city's projected 2013 budget gap has dropped to $298
million from $369 million in July, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office
reported on Wednesday.
Chicago's structural budget deficit for the fiscal year that
begins Jan. 1 has fallen from an initial $741 million projection
amid revenue growth and as cost-saving measures took hold.
The $298 million projected structural deficit is the lowest
since the 2008 economic recession, according to the mayor's
second-quarter budget report.
"The administration's aggressive fiscal management and
ability to deliver services more efficiently has resulted in
millions of dollars of savings for taxpayers," said Chicago
Budget Director Alexandra Holt in a statement.
While a warm winter depressed the city's utility tax,
revenue from sales, state income and real estate transfer taxes
came in above estimates, the report said. It added that
expenditures were on track with spending on contractual services
and healthcare below levels in the $6.3 billion fiscal 2012
Emanuel, who is scheduled to unveil his fiscal 2013 budget
to the city council on Oct. 10, has ruled out hikes in property,
sales, fuel or amusement taxes, but wants to end a per-employee
fee paid by businesses ahead of schedule and is considering a
cigarette tax increase, according to a spokeswoman.
Like other U.S. cities, Chicago's revenue fell sharply due
to the economic recession, while the housing market's collapse
eroded property values and depressed real estate transaction tax
collections. The use of one-time measures, including tapping
reserve funds to help balance budgets under former mayor Richard
Daley, contributed to downgrades of Chicago's credit ratings in
In April, Moody's Investors Service revised the outlook on
Chicago's Aa3 general obligation rating to "negative" from
"stable" due to a lack of a detailed plan to deal with the
city's burgeoning unfunded pension liability.