Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks to guests after taking the oath of office on May 15, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Think of it as the reality check budget.

As a candidate for mayor, Brandon Johnson had a neat and clean plan to raise $800 million from new taxes in order to pay for a sweeping progressive agenda that undergirded his campaign.

Now that he’s in office, Johnson’s new reality of actually running the city and being responsible for its fiscal health seems to be setting in. The $16.6 billion budget Johnson announced Wednesday was a reality check in two ways.

First, the menu of taxes he proposed as a candidate was nowhere to be seen. And second, the progressive plans he once promised have been toned down — at least for now — by the fact that the city can’t afford to pay for all that Johnson and his backers would like to do.

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David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.