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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 18, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

The full Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the $12.8 billion budget on Tuesday.

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny but windywith a high near 52 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 43 degrees. Tomorrow will be way warmer: sunny with a high near 64 degrees.

Top story

Finance Committee OKs tax hike package, including $94 million property tax increase

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $195.7 million revenue package — including a $94 million property tax increase followed by annual increases tied to the consumer price index — cleared a key legislative hurdle today, signaling smooth sailing when an even bigger test comes next week.

The first test in the City Council’s Finance Committee was the vote on the city’s $1.63 billion property tax levy. It includes the $94 million property tax increase that will cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 an extra $56 a year. It also includes the automatic annual property tax increase — 5% or the consumer price index, whichever is lower.

Eighteen votes were needed for passage. The final vote was 21 to 12. The vote on the rest of the revenue package was 20 to 12.

Only one of the “no” votes was cast by a member of the 20-member Black Caucus. Chairman Jason Ervin told us the Black Caucus came around after the mayor agreed to increase funding for violence prevention and for a pilot program to respond to emergency calls involving people suffering from mental health issues. She also agreed to pinpoint future capital projects on the South and West Sides, Ervin said.

“We’ve come to an understanding that satisfies most of our concerns,” he said.

The full Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the $12.8 billion budget on Tuesday.

To erase a $1.2 billion shortfall largely caused by the coronavirus, the budget includes $195.7 million in new revenues. In addition to the property tax increase, that includes:

  • Raising the city’s gasoline tax by 60% — from a nickel to 8 cents per gallon — to raise $10 million.
  • Increasing the city’s tax on computer leases and cloud services by 24% — from 7.25 percent to 9 percent — to generate $15 million.
  • Eliminating a “ride-share subsidy” to the CTA to save $16 million.
  • Removing a ground transportation tax loophole that allows ride hailing companies to claim credit on their annual return of 50 percent on trips to under-served areas to save between $3 million and $6 million.
  • Adding 750 parking meters in the Loop at $7 an hour and the Central Business Districts at $4.50 an hour.
  • Enhancing fine enforcement to raise $68 million. That includes a controversial plan to start issuing $35 speed camera tickets to motorists caught driving between six and nine miles-an-hour over the speed limit.

Read Fran Spielman’s full report here.

More news you need

  1. The coronavirus has claimed another 140 lives across Illinois, raising the state’s pandemic death toll to 11,014, public health officials said today. About 4.8% of the state’s population has contracted the virus over the past eight months.
  2. Weapons charges have been dropped against two men who were with the rapper Juice WRLD when he suffered a fatal overdose last year. The rapper’s bodyguard and another man were each charged with misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed firearm at Midway Airport.
  3. A man accused of using his job at the John Hancock building to lure fathers and sons into sexual encounters by offering them free Tilt rides was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for receiving child pornography. Christopher Colon pleaded guilty in 2019, two years after the feds say a child exploitation investigation into another man helped lead them to Colon.
  4. A federal judge sentenced an Ottawa man to more than four years in prison Tuesday after he was found guilty of threatening an FBI task force officer and others in Chicago’s first jury trial after the start of the coronavirus pandemic. A jury convicted 40-year-old Robert Haas in August.

A bright one

Thanksgiving Day dinners available for carryout from Chicago-area restaurants

Thanksgiving Day dinner plans look a little different for many of us this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country. You may be limiting your typical large family gathering to a smaller meal with your immediate family (and struggling to scale down your stuffing recipe that makes 20 servings), or your high-risk loved ones may be sitting this one out — which means their signature dishes will be absent from your dinner table, too.

At the same time, many of us are actively seeking opportunities to help support beloved local restaurants that have been hard-hit financially by the virus.

Luckily, Chicago-area restaurants are busy making Thanksgiving meals that can be picked up or delivered for the holiday, so you can enjoy all of your favorite traditional dishes even if your family gathering this year is being hosted by Zoom instead of grandma.

Seasons 52’s offerings includes Thanksgiving dinner, a choice of salad and six mini desserts.
Provided

If you’re looking to do it up fine dining style Alinea’s Thanksgiving to-go menu includes many of the classics you look for like turkey and pumpkin pie, but also some cheffy stuff you probably wouldn’t get into at home, like compound butter.

If you’re craving Italian, Maggiano’s has a Thanksgiving package too, which includes focaccia sausage stuffing and spaghetti and meatballs. Vegetarian? You can head to Blind Faith Cafe for vegetarian pot pies, coconut curry or a whole shiitake walnut loaf!

Check out our full Thanksgiving to go roundup here.

From the press box

Will the Bulls take LaMelo Ball in tonight’s NBA Draft? Joe Cowley makes his annual predictions (but don’t hold him to it). Draft coverage starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Theo Epstein came, he saw, he did the metrics. And in 2016 he brought the Cubs their first World Series championship in 108 years. That, in itself, is worthy of a statue, Rick Telander writes.

The Bears are struggling, but safety Eddie Jackson says the players have to hold each other accountable. Patrick Finley has the story.

And over in high school sports, the IHSA and Chicago Public Schools have put all winter sports on hold as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic.

Your daily question ☕

Do you trust our local elected officials to keep us safe during the coronavirus pandemic? Tell us why, or why not.

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What do you think of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest restrictions on stores, museums and casinos? Here’s what some of you said…

“If the response in the spring had been more surgical, I think we’d have an easier time with the governor’s ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ speech. Hard to buy into that.” — Matthew Herek

“It’s the right move, but I do not see any enforcement on social distancing, masks, drinking past closing in these tents on Division Street. More needs to be done to make this work.” — Tina Rotter

“This is the exact reason why people continue to travel to Wisconsin or Indiana. They are normal and have stuff open.” — Jeff Malina

“Ridiculous, Mayor Lightfoot stated her health department determined that the spike in COVID is due to private gatherings and partying, not businesses.” — Paul Olson

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