Truth in Accounting released their annual report on the debt for America’s 10 largest cities. The City Combined Taxpayer Burden Report includes the city’s largest underlying government units, such as counties and school districts. With the exception of New York City, most municipalities do not include in their annual financial reports the finances of large, underlying government units for which city taxpayers are also responsible. When adding the Taxpayer Burden of these underlying government units with the city and state Taxpayer Burden, it is clear that the debt is much greater than what one would assume.

Chicago’s combined Taxpayer Burden is $126,600, which includes $41,100 per taxpayer for Chicago’s city debt. Chicago taxpayers are also on the hook for The state debt of Illinois at $52,000 per taxpayer.

In comparison to New York City, Chicago does not suffer from city debt nearly as much. However, once the debts of the Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago School Districts, Chicago Park District, are combined, Chicago surpasses New York City’s to become the worst city financially.

This report analyzes the fiscal health of the 10 most populous U.S. cities pre-COVID-19. In conclusion, Truth in Accounting’s analysis aims to help readers understand the implications of city, county, and underlying governmental units’ debts, which creates high levels of Taxpayer Burdens for individuals living within cities that need proper resources to function and stay afloat. Overall, this report highlights the financial struggles each city went into the pandemic with and we can assume the fiscal health of these cities worsened during the pandemic.

Anna D’Aprile is a Press and Communications Intern at Truth in Accounting

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