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DuPage mayors want state to stop cutting towns' funds Funds: Rauner's office touts tools for controlling costs.

Byline: Robert Sanchez

An organization representing DuPage County's villages and cities is urging Illinois lawmakers to stop using municipal revenue to fill gaps in the state budget.

When the state budget was approved last year, it included a 10 percent reduction in the amount of state income tax revenue municipalities and counties receive.

DuPage municipalities lost roughly $11.4 million as a result, but mayors say they were told it would be a one-time cut.

Now, as part of his proposed budget for fiscal 2019, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to continue taking 10 percent of the municipal revenue -- more than $120 million -- from the Local Government Distributive Fund.

The DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference says state income tax dollars from that fund help local

governments pay for essential services, including police and firefighters, road repairs, garbage collection and snow removal. If the cut remains in place for fiscal 2019, conference officials say it would have a "devastating impact" on municipal operating budgets.

"We support efforts to balance the deficit and put Illinois on solid financial footing, but taking away more local revenue that communities rely on will come at a high cost for residents" said Addison Mayor Richard Veenstra, president of the conference.

Rachel Bold, a spokeswoman for Rauner, said the governor outlined a spending plan that "prioritizes education, public safety, transportation and essential human services and proposed specific structural changes to get Illinois back on track to fiscal health."

She said Rauner is proposing tools that will allow units of local government to control their costs. "These tools include the power to dissolve or consolidate units of local government and more flexibility in contracting, bidding and sharing services," Bold said.

Still, conference officials say they are working with other groups, including the Northwest Municipal Conference and the Illinois Municipal League, to protect against any funding reductions.

They say municipalities have endured significant cuts during the past several years because of mandates and fewer resources from the state.

For example, the state last year imposed a 2 percent administrative fee to collect special taxes for local governments. That cost DuPage cities and villages nearly $2.9 million in combined revenue.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he understands why state lawmakers are trying to find ways to generate money, but taking it from local governments doesn't fix Illinois' budget problems. "It's a cost shift," Chirico said. "It's not running government smarter or more efficiently. It's just moving the cost to somebody else."

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Feb 17, 2018
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