Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be holding two public hearings about Chicago’s 2012 budget next week.
The hearings will be held on Monday at 6pm at Kennedy King College (740 W. 63rd St.) and Wednesday at 6pm at Malcolm X College (1900 W. Jackson Blvd).
Mayor Emanuel has been encouraging public comments around the budget since he took office. He launched a website chicagobudget.org that encourages Chicagoans to pitch in ideas on how to close the $635 million budget deficit.
But as Chicago is forced to make difficult budgetary decisions, it is even more important for the public to be able to understand how tax dollars are spent. Opening the government’s checkbook empowers citizens to involve themselves in budgetary debates and to act as watchdogs to ensure that the government spends money fairly and efficiently.
In order to continue fostering civic engagement, Mayor Emanuel should provide detailed information about government contracts, spending, subsidies, and tax expenditures, and eventually post his comprehensive proposed budget online in an easy to use, searchable format.
With greater spending transparency, Chicago can better ensure that taxpayers funds are spent wisely, and will encourage more input from Chicagoans in the future.
To read more about the upcoming budget hearings go here.