NEAR WEST SIDE — Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed Wednesday not to increase property, sales or gas taxes in the 2014 city budget. Other taxes — including those for leases, liquor and cigarettes — are still on the table.
“We’re going to have a three-years-in-a-row budget that is not only balanced, but does not raise taxes on property, does not raise taxes on sales and does not raise the gas tax," Emanuel said.
The mayor was speaking at a budget roundtable in the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago offices, 320 N. Damen Ave.
When asked about further tax plans, he offered no specifics.
"We’re going through the budget. We’re not done yet," Emanuel said.
On Friday, the Sun-Times reported that liquor, cigarette, amusements and personal property lease taxes might be raised in 2014. The mayor said Wednesday he would look for "efficiencies" as he planned the budget.
At Wednesday's meeting — which featured a panel of small business owners — Emanuel announced the city will offer $1 million of microloans in 2014. He said his office and the city's treasurer would each provide $500,000.
"I’ve always believed in the microlending," Emanuel said. "It is that speed bump between a dream and a nightmare.”
The loan program began in May of 2012 to provide small businesses with "small but critical" funding to support growth, the city says. About 37 percent of the loans so far have been below $5,000 and 67 percent have been below $10,000, the city says.
To date, some 110 businesses have received over $900,000 in loans, the city says.
Additionally, the mayor promised that building and zoning permits will be electronic by 2016.