HomeTop StoriesMayor Brandon Johnson promotes Cristina Pacione-Zayas to chief of staff

Mayor Brandon Johnson promotes Cristina Pacione-Zayas to chief of staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Brandon Johnson on Tuesday promoted First Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas as his new chief of staff, replacing Rich Guidice, who retired at the end of March.

Pacione-Zayas, a former Illinois state senator, will be the city’s first Latina chief of staff, according to Johnson’s office.

“Cristina’s unparalleled commitment to our city, her deep knowledge of critical issues impacting our neighborhoods such as housing, community safety and education, and her proven track record of leadership make her the ideal person to serve as my next Chief of Staff” , Johnson said. in a statement. “I am confident that together we will continue to make progress toward a better, stronger and safer Chicago.”

Before being elected to the Illinois Senate in 2020, she was vice president of policy at the nonprofit Erikson Institute, which offers early childhood education programs.

“This role provides a unique opportunity to advance our collective vision for a city committed to providing equity and opportunity for all, and I am committed to using all resources and partnerships to make this vision a reality,” said Pacione -Zayas on her appointment as chief of staff to the mayor.

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Pacione-Zayas takes over as Johnson’s top aide after a major political defeat for the mayor, whose signature “Bring Chicago Home” proposal to raise the transfer tax on multimillion-dollar real estate sales was defeated at the ballot box. March primaries.

Johnson had hoped to get $100 million a year in new revenue from the tax plan to help combat homelessness. Two days after the election Johnson’s office announced that Guidice was withdrawing from the cityafter more than 33 years in various roles, including four years leading the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications before becoming Johnson’s chief of staff.

The mayor has now turned his attention to a plan to borrow $1.25 billion over the next five years to finance affordable housing and other real estate development projects in the city. Johnson plans to pay for the borrowing plan by allowing dozens of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) districts to expire.

TIF districts leverage the revenue generated by property tax growth within a specific area of ​​the city to help finance redevelopment projects. Those tax dollars are diverted from the city’s general fund and other local taxing entities, including the Chicago Public Schools, in an effort to spur development in underdeveloped neighborhoods.

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By allowing several TIF districts to expire over the next few years, city officials expect $2.2 billion in tax revenue will flow into the city’s coffers over the next fifteen years, and they will meet the mayor’s 37-year borrowing plan to help finance it, at an estimated total cost of $2.4 billion.

Johnson first announced that borrowing plan a month before the Bring Chicago Home proposal was rejected by Chicago voters.

The city council still has to vote on the mayor’s borrowing plan.

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