This morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented his 2013 budget to the City Council, reasserting his promise of avoiding any tax hikes but maintaining his threat to hike property taxes if the city's pension issue isn't resolved. The mayor promised to close a $298 million shortfall in the budget, but alderman are skeptical it can be done without new taxes. Now, Mayor Emanuel is making the rounds to defend and explains his budget and he's stopping by our office to sit down and chat with City Hall reporter Fran Spielman about his budget. We'll be live-blogging the chat below and Spielman will post her recap later.
Get a head start on the live blog by checking out the mayor's prepared remarks, updates from this morning's speech by Sun-Times reporter Lauren Fitzpatrick, and even video of the speech, posted above.
Follow the live-blog after the jump.
4:39 p.m. | And with a smile and handshakes, we're done. Check back on the main site later for more and for full video of the Mayor's visit.
4:35 p.m. | On Obama: "I want him to win." On debates: "Why you all hyperventilated, we're just back [to where we were] this summer."
4:34 p.m. | When asked about Preckwinkle's proposed gun tax, Rahm acknowledges knowing about it but not knowing it in-depth. Says city needs more help from Springfield.
4:32 p.m. | Mayor: speed cameras providing resources for "safety of kids," like signage, pre-K and after-school jobs programs for students.
4:27 p.m. | When asked about the new riverwalk development, Mayor quips, "That's where I'm putting the Blue Demons." Then touts "dramatic increase" in usage of river by residents, considers it the "next recreational frontier" like Millenium Park.
4:25 p.m. | "I'm proud that Chicago is going in a different direction [than other cities] ... I'm proud of making these choices. I'm not going to solve every problem, but when it comes to poverty and everything that comes out of it ... We're making the right choices and I believe we're a better city for it."
4:23 p.m. On new DePaul stadium: | I think it will be a great idea to bring the DePaul Blue Demons back into the city. When asked "Where?" he, of course, doesn't elaborate with any specifics.
4:21 p.m. | Mayor now on defensive in regards to recent coverage by Sun-Times on tiff with Gov. Quinn over Wrigley renovations.
4:17 p.m. | On Prentice Hospital, "We have a challenge here, I'm not going to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize."
4:15 p.m. And now swinging back to the police beat. On TIF financing to hire cops (or other alternate plans) as he discussed during his campaign, mayor doesn't directly answer the question. Does point out gang problems are in 7 of 23 districts, touts drops in violence in neighborhoods like Englewood. Does make a reference to potential federal help, but not specifics.
4:13 p.m. | Back to pension reform. "I wanted to tell those elected officials ... I'm ready to spend political capital to get that done."
4:08 p.m. | Mayor on charters: It's not neighborhood versus charters, it's making sure there are choices.
4:04 p.m. | Talking success and failures of certain types of charter schools. "I'm for educational excellence."
4:02 p.m. | Mayor disagrees with questions about combative nature of his relationship with CTU, doesn't really elaborate.
4:01 p.m. | Mayor says he sees closings more as "consolidating" - "We have 600,000 seats and 400,000 students." Refuses to talk specific numbers of future closures, promises to work through community engagement on future closures.
3:59 p.m. | Talk about new CTU contracts leads to discussion on pensions. "Seventy-five percent of state's pension surrounds education ... Chicago taxpayers are paying double-duty and the state has got to fix it."
3:57 p.m. | Quickly moving on to school closures. "Nobody will ever convince me that more time for kids in schools ... is wrong... That was worth doing."
3:56 p.m. | Mayor now talking about CAPS reform, notes the importance of police officers in communities.
3:53 p.m. | On to promise of new police officers. "Leadership counts; It's not just how much, it's how it's applied..."
3:50 p.m. | Emphasizes plans to give hiring preferences to CPS graduates.
3:48 p.m. | Major complaint that people on South and West Sides aren't benefitting from job creations. Mayor touts added bus drivers, decision to rehab the Red Line, adding hundreds of jobs and more jobs added at South and West Side transit facilities. Sees CTA fixes as an investment: "Not only do they fix it, they ride it to a job."
3:45 p.m. | Are you prepared to raise taxes? "I worked really hard to get to this position ... that's not my intention." Then has to deflect questions about negotiations with CFD and CPD unions since they are still ongoing.
3:44 p.m. | Aide: there will be some city positions eliminated, actual layoff number not known but should be 12 or less people.
3:43 p.m. | Mayor: "Why you're looking at the budget, our tourism is up," cites NATO and Ryder Cup. Touts increasing revenue for hotels and investment in hotels thanks to revitalized market at McCormick Place.
3:40 p.m. | Sun-Times: "What happens if projected revenue growth that budget depends on doesn't materialize?" Mayor ticks off increases in revenues of hotels and sales, doubled increase in debt collection and ongoing tactics, and better management of health costs as some examples.
3:36 p.m. | Mayor: "There's no area of the budget that's immune from reform."
3:34 p.m. | Now talking privatization of services and competitive bidding: "to get the best price and expand services."
3:31 p.m. | Mayor hints at a break with the past and fundamental change without placing blame. "If we make the changes, people in the private sector will have confidence in the city."
3:30 p.m. | Rahm is defending his dealings with unions, talking about his approach to proposing "change" to deals with workers rather than cuts. Cites recent deal with CTA union as an example.