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Chicago estimates much smaller budget gap for 2013

Chicago estimates much smaller budget gap for 2013

CHICAGO - Chicago's structural budget imbalance has been reduced substantially, with the latest projection showing a gap of $369 million in fiscal 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Tuesday.

"By making the tough but necessary choices in 2012, we were able to cut our budget gap in half in one year without using one-time fixes," Emanuel said in a statement.

He pointed to cost-savings moves in the current budget that eased the deficit, such as improved debt collection, health-care savings, public safety headquarters consolidations and job cuts.

Chicago's fiscal year corresponds to the calendar year.

The new budget gap, which is down from a previously projected $741 million deficit, is the lowest since 2009, according to the statement. Heading into fiscal 2012, the city faced a $635.7 million budget hole.

Like other U.S. cities, Chicago's revenue tanked due to the economic recession, while the housing market's collapse eroded property values and depressed real estate transaction tax collections. The use of one-time measures, including tapping reserve funds to help balance budgets under former Mayor Richard Daley, contributed to downgrades of Chicago's credit ratings in 2010.

For 2013, Chicago estimates its corporate fund revenue will total $2.83 billion against expenses of $3.19 billion. Emanuel, who took office as mayor in May 2011, is scheduled to unveil a budget to the city council in October.

The city's latest annual financial analysis also projected budget gaps will increase to $466 million in fiscal 2014 and $580 million in fiscal 2015 without additional reforms to government.
Phelps makes history with record 19th medal

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AUSTIN, Texas - Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz scored a stunning upset over a longtime Texas state officeholder in a Republican U.S. Senate primary runoff on Tuesday, transforming Cruz into a national conservative star and marking a resurgence of the movement to shrink the size of U.S. government.

Iconoclastic American author Gore Vidal dead at 86

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