More Illinois mayors have stepped up to detail the problems their communities could face if Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed cuts to the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) are passed. Rauner has proposed a plan to cut the fund by 50 percent.
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham addressed the issue at a press conference, spearheaded by the Illinois Municipal League (IML), which represents all Illinois mayors.
Rockingham said North Chicago could experience a $1.6 million funding cut under Rauner's budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
"This proposed cut is already creating a great amount of distress in municipalities across Illinois," Rockingham was quoted as saying in an IML press release. "Gov. Rauner's proposal assumes all municipalities are on the same playing field, and they are not. Here in North Chicago, we are home to many important federal entities and these entities are exempt from property taxes. The $1.6 million that would be cut from our city to fix the state's problems will negatively impact service delivery and potentially increase property taxes on an already overburdened constituency. Worse yet, it will hijack our economic development initiatives which will have grave consequences on our residents, military community and region."
Other mayors speaking out Wednesday about the potential budget cuts included those from Barrington, Belleville, Decatur, Danville, Marion, Mascoutah, Palos Hills, and Rockton, according to IML.
Rauner wants to reduce the LGDF, which is a portion of state income tax that is funneled to local governments, from 8 percent to 4 percent. That would bring the fund down from about $1.2 billion to $643 million.
Mascoutah Mayor Jerry Daugherty was at least one city leader to push back on Rauner's suggestion that municipalities with reserves would be able to sustain the cuts.
"Municipalities that are fortunate enough to have reserves on hand can't necessarily use them for general funding purposes such as police, roads and parks," Daugherty stressed. "Most municipalities have managed their funds effectively and dealt with a number of unfunded state mandates through the years. And now a proposed 50 percent cut is what we get-this is our reward? This doesn't seem fair."
Here's a sampling of cuts that Illinois communities face if Rauner's proposal passes, according to IML:
- Aurora: $9.8 million
- Belleville: $2.2 million
- Chicago: $133.4 million
- Danville: $1.6 million
- Decatur: $3.8 million
- Mascoutah: $370,409
- Palos Hills: $900,000
- Peoria: $5.6 million
- Rockton: $380, 408
- Springfield: $5.7 million
Last week, a group of Southern Illinois mayors also warned about the "devestating" effects Rauner's proposed budget could have on their communities.