News Roundup: A third of Chicago homes have negative equity

Roughly 32.9 percent of homes in Chicago have negative equity, according to a report by realty website Zillow.com. Nationally, 23.2 percent of homes are “underwater,” meaning the owners owe more for their mortgage than what the home is actually worth. “All these people are trapped in their homes and can’t move onto another one and it’s throwing off more foreclosures,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.

Also in the news…

  • Mayoral hopeful Gary Chico announced a plan to freeze $324 million in city reserves over the next 20 years, and to mandate its use for city expenses. The plan, which will not affect Mayor Daley’s 2011 budget proposal, was introduced to the city council by Chico today. Chico’s plan is seen as a response to the excessive use of the money the city received for several privatization deals. If Daley’s budget passes, only $76 million of the $1.5 billion received for the 75-year parking meter lease will remain.
  • An Obama administration panel introduced a proposal that would reduce nearly $4 trillion from projected deficits, The New York Times reported today. The bipartisian commission’s proposal calls for slashing domestic and military spending, as well as a revamping of the tax code.
  • Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told the Washington Blade, an LGBTQ publication that there was “zero-chance” for any gay-rights legislation passing in a Republican-controlled House. “The Republicans have become much more anti-gay in their voting patterns,” he said. Frank, who is openly gay, told the Blade that he is hopeful that the lame-duck Senate would vote to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Earlier this year, the House passed a repeal measure. Despite Frank’s prediction, a record-high 31 percent of self-identified gay voters cast ballots for GOP candidates in the midterm elections.

-Compiled by Nicholas Moroni

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