Chicago Tribune: Mayor Brandon Johnson’s first big fiscal test: How to translate campaign promises into dollars and cents

By Alice Yin, July 30, 2023

Yolotzin Martinez, left, speaks to Mayor Brandon Johnson, right, about community safety during a mayoral roundtable on the 2024 city of Chicago budget at Harold Washington Library in the Loop on July 25, 2023.

The mayor also shouted out two activist-backed proposals from his 100-day agenda — Treatment Not Trauma and Bring Chicago Home — that have recently gained traction but appear increasingly unlikely to be accomplished in the immediate future.

Treatment Not Trauma calls for a citywide, nonpolice response to mental health crises and for reopening the mental health clinics shut down by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. A City Council committee took the first step days ago to explore the plan, but it’s unclear how much of it will be reflected in the next budget, as Johnson’s transition team deemed it a “long-term” goal and his allies have noted it requires multiple phases of implementation.

The second proposal, Bring Chicago Home, aims to raise an estimated $160 million annually for social services and anti-homeless measures by more than tripling the real estate transfer tax on the sales of properties valued at more than $1 million. Supporters say the program is direly needed, especially as an influx of migrants has strained the city’s overall social safety net.