LGDF money pledged to our communities was 10% of all annual income tax revenue from 1993 to 2011. However, the state has reduced the amount it returns to your community to just a little more than 6% today, a reduction of almost 40% compared to the past. decade.
Let’s state the obvious: you pay more but get less back in your local community. How much less? LGDF revenue can represent between 10% and 20% of a municipality‘s operating budget, which means these cuts could amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in lost revenue each year for your community, depending of its population.
Since local governments cannot rely on sufficient and stable funding through LGDF – revenue that the state has promised to share with our communities – many have had to find other sources of revenue. In some cases, that includes property tax increases, which are already high in Illinois.
The Illinois General Assembly has an opportunity to reduce reliance on general property taxes by reducing LGDF to the 10% promised, or at a minimum, the 8% included in recent legislation by Rep. Anthony DeLuca, HB 4169, and Senator Laura Murphy. , SB 3010. The General Assembly needs to hear from their constituents that they should approve this bipartisan compromise plan before the end of the legislative session on April 8.
The time has come. The state’s financial health has improved significantly in recent years, leading to a reduction in the backlog of bills, improved credit ratings and a $1.7 billion surplus. There’s no better time to prioritize funding for local governments that have suffered budget cuts for more than a decade.
Municipalities are required to balance our budgets every year. All of our communities are making tough decisions about how to continue to meet the needs of residents and businesses with fewer resources. Cost-cutting has helped cover lost revenue in the past, but municipalities and counties now have to pay for new unfunded state mandates and skyrocketing public safety pension costs.
As President of the Illinois Municipal League and Chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, we sign this letter on behalf of a coalition of local governments across the state, including the Barrington Area Council of Governments, the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, Illinois State Association of Counties, Lake County Municipal League, McHenry County Council of Governments, Metro West Council of Government, Northwest Municipal Conference, Southwest Conference of Mayors, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, West Central Municipal Conference and Will County Governmental League. The organizations in this coalition represent the 1,296 cities, towns, and municipalities and county governments in the region and state.
Julie Moore Wolfe is mayor of the city of Decatur and president of the Municipal League of Illinois. John F. Mahoney is Mayor of the Village of Palos Park and Chairman of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.