Chicago Has Been Quietly Intercepting Millions for Traffic Fine Debts From State Tax Refunds During the Pandemic

These findings come as Chicago’s finances are under significant strain. The city’s budget deficit for this year has risen to $799 million, partly as a result of the economic impacts of the pandemic, and it is facing an estimated $1.2 billion budget deficit for the 2021 fiscal year. Lightfoot has called for the federal government to provide economic relief to Chicago and other cities, but the crisis is also forcing the city to consider ways to save expenses or generate revenue — through possible furloughs or layoffs for city workers, a potential property tax, and other measures. Chicago’s budget is also constrained by state law that limits the city’s powers to raise revenue and an historic reduction in cities’s share of state income tax revenue.