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Hands off city funds, aldermen tell governor

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To no one's surprise, Evanston aldermen Monday night passed a resolution urging the state legislature to reject Gov. Rauner's plan to cut in half the share municipalities receive of state income tax revenue.

The resolution was approved without dissent after aldermen added language suggested by Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, that the reduction would "place an undue burden on the city to address the state's budget challenges."

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl endorsed the change, telling Wilson, "I like your finger pointing — you do it well."

Wilson said the governor had accused municipalities of not living within their means. But Evanston, Wilson said, absolutely has been living within its means.

The proposed reduction would amount to about 4 percent of the city's general fund revenue, or about 1.6 percent of total city spending.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says that if the shortfall were to be made up by cutting general fund workers, it would require laying off 41 people or about 6.5 percent of all general fund employees.

If property taxes were raised to cover the lost revenue, it would require an 8.4 percent increase in the city's property tax levy.


Update 3/18/15 7:30 a.m.: After a meeting with Rauner in Springfield Tuesday that was attended by Mayor Tisdahl, some mayors at the session said the governor wants to make the funding cut to municipalities effective sooner than July 1 — which he had initially proposed.

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