In outlining the city’s priorities at the state capitol this year, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley last week called on Illinois lawmakers to pass a capital budget that boosts the current levels proposed in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s $25 billion capital spending plan.

Daley cited the struggling economy in calling on the General Assembly and the governor to put aside their arguments of recent sessions to pass measures that would reform property taxes, help aid homeowners, increase education spending, and impose new gun-control restrictions.

”We hope they will avoid the politics and divisiveness that plagued and prolonged last year’s session and get things done for the people we serve,” the mayor said. “To be honest, I believe they have the potential to achieve so much more for all the people of Illinois and Chicago if they’d only put their personal agendas aside.”

Daley said the proposed capital budget provides just $760 million for Chicago Public Schools, which has $5 billion in unfunded capital needs. The Chicago Transit Authority would get just $400 million while it has long-term needs of $6.3 billion. The school system also need more than the $60 million in additional operating aid included in the governor’s budget proposal. Daley said absent more aid, the district would need to raise property taxes.

Daley also renewed his push for education reform, shifting the burden off property tax rolls. In addition, he called on lawmakers to approve legislation that would assist homeowners seeking help to avoid foreclosure.

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