More than 2,000 people attended Thursday's debate to hear Emanuel and three other candidates, including former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, D-Ill., outline proposals on how they would run Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Candidate Gery Chico, former chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley, criticized Emanuel's tax proposals.
"Tell us what's going to be taxed," said Chico. "The taxpayers in this city and this state already have too many bricks on their back. They cannot afford this."
Emanuel has said he would reduce Chicago's Home Rule sales tax by a quarter of a point, while taxing luxury services such as limousine rides and private jet charters.
"If you take a corporate jet, you'll start to pay a fair share," Emanuel said. "You take a limo, you'll pay a fair share."
While Emanuel is leading the race in polls, it's not too late for voters to change their mind, Braun noted.
"The people of Egypt demanded democracy and got it. We should do no less in the city of Chicago," she said.
Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle is also a candidate for mayor.