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Garcia Gives Some Details On Budget Plan, Still Mum On Revenue

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Saying the city is teetering on a financial cliff, mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia on Friday outlined the first specifics of his budget plans, though he remained vague on key details.

Garcia said the city could save perhaps as much as $350 million by sharing the cost of services, purchasing, and technology with the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Public Schools.

He also said there would be independent financial and performance audits of every city department; to find waste, fraud, and inefficiencies.

However, he would not say where he'd get the revenue to shore up the city's police and fire pensions, with the city due a $550 million payment to those pension funds in 2016.

"I recognize that a part of the pension solution is going to be additional and new revenues, but we owe it to taxpayers to look at a whole host of possibilities that experts will provide me with, as we move forward," he said.


The mayoral hopeful continued to dodge questions about whether a property tax increase would be needed to pay down the city's pension debts.

"We cannot even begin to talk about increasing property taxes on low-income people, on working- or middle-class Chicagoans without first looking at a host of changes that could happen, in terms of how we will move forward," he said.

Still, Garcia said he's certain the Emanuel administration's current fiscal approach, including borrowing to cover expenses, is not sustainable.

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