The Illinois General Assembly will finalize the state budget over the remaining weeks of May. Legislators in Springfield are busy analyzing varying ways to reach a balanced budget that reduces overall spending while not eliminating necessary state programs.
Cities, villages, and towns all find themselves looking at possible reductions in state-collected local government revenues as part of the final state budget solution. If these severe reductions are included in the state budget then the City of Evanston will be faced with some daunting decisions: make additional reductions in staff or possibly raising property taxes. The reductions will tear at the heart of Evanston.
Municipalities are due, by law, a variety of state-collected local government revenues including the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), state income tax, motor fuel taxes, sales taxes and personal property replacement taxes. The state of Illinois serves as the vehicle to collect and distribute these monies, but they are really revenue generated by and owed to local governments. This money has been paid by local taxpayers with the understanding it would return to their local communities to fund local services.
Now, Governor Pat Quinn and other key legislative leaders are looking at ways to capture more revenue for the state, and cutting these funds are currently under discussion. Taking away this revenue, which pays for essential local programs, front-line services and critical personnel, will merely shift the state’s burden onto municipal and county governments. Should Evanston residents feel the sting for Springfield’s fiscal mess?
Please take time out of your busy day to reach out to State Representative Daniel Biss or State Representative Robyn Gabel and State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, and ask them to oppose any reductions to state-collected local government revenues in the state budget. Remind them of what a great community Evanston is to live, work and in which to raise a family and that these revenues contribute to making it the most livable city in America. Ask them to ensure the Evanston community remains whole.
Additional Points for Discussion
- Like Illinois families, cities and villages have been making significant sacrifices and cutting back during these tough economic times, slashing programs, curbing constituent services, delaying projects and laying off workers, including police and firefighters.
- The City of Evanston has reduced budget expenditures over $13 million in the past two budgets
- Municipalities have already shared sacrificially when the increased income tax rates provided no new money
- Municipalities offer police and fire protection, pave local roads, programs for our seniors and youth, provide water and sewer services to businesses and residents and much more. If the state of Illinois cuts any local revenues (like the income taxes, sales taxes, the Motor Fuel Tax, and the Personal Property Replacement Tax) to municipalities, it will represent a huge property tax increase and/or a cut to these core services.