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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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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11 Comments

  1. ‘Within our means’–they have to be kidding

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

    As one would expect an alderman to say.  The Council and Manager spend and give away money for every cockamamie project, then expect the state [read taxpayers] to continue to support their binges.  They want the “Money Tree” to continue giving them "free money.”

    All the governor had to do was read all the ways they fight any measures to actually improve business, raise taxes and fees, seek to preserve every building put up before 1990 [o,k. maybe off by a couple of years], prevent development but pour money into every arts project and forget any principals of economics, finance and accounting.

    1. Rauner hates the arts, as is

      Rauner hates the arts, as is evidenced by his gutting of the Illinois Arts Council.

      I always find it funny how monied autocrats love to say how they appreciate art. Yet when it comes to paying artists a fair price for their craft, (as in, enough to eat and pay rent) that love falls away into seeming contempt.

      Art is humanity. To deny that is worse than ignorance. If you do not want your tax money funding art, then pay a fair price for it.

      1. WHAT?

        There is nothing wrong with the arts except that most people have a narrow view of what is art.

        Sorry to say, because of irresponsible politicians at the state, county, and local levels, some things must be cut to pay for mass mistakes. Evanston city council has basically bled citizens dry and they need tax cuts, not increases. The budget cuts are going to need to come from the arts, social services, and the city's least needed workers. Managers should be amoung them because there will be fewer like to have projects to do and patios to build.

        Don't blame the current governor. He didn't create the mess we call Illinois. He is trying to fix it buy paying down the debt and lowering taxes which will stop the businesses from leaving the state. He will also try to cut the number of taxing bodies which has created more goverment jobs per citizen than almost any two other states in the country.

        You are probably one of the problems in this state by electing the same people who caused the problems ,over and over again.

    2. Ditto

      That was a pretty irresponsible statement by Wilson, given the facts around the council actions over the recient years. The council spending has been out of control. While they try to appear they are holding property taxes to small percentage increase, those increase are that much greater because of the already high taxes.

      Didn't Wilson let the Evanston Arts Council off the hook without punishing them for decades of cheating the city. Not only did the EAC not get what was coming to them, the city rewarded them by paying them thousands of $$$$$$$ to help them move. In addition, they are planning on giving them the money to pay for city their inspection fees in their new place.

      Wilson and the rest of city council club are really responsible people with other peoples money. Kind of reminds you of a minime version of the Chicago city council.

  2. Please sir, may I have another tax!

    I don't care how you tax me (at the local level, state level or federal level) all I ask is that you tax me again, Sir! 

  3. governor’s threat to cut city funding

    I find it interesting that there is so much outrage over the new governor's attempt to correct years of irresponsible spending.  where was the outrage over the years of kicking our financial troubles down the road; not funding the pensions, borrowing from peter to pay paul, etc?  

    have any of you thought that perhaps the governor is attempting to get the legislature's attention by spreading the pain all over the state in hopes that mssrs. cullerton and madigan might come up with some different tactics to cut our spending and boost illinois out of LAST PLACE in the US economically?  however those two have only a one-note song to sing:  RAISE TAXES. 

    Mary Brugliera

  4. Quote from meeting

    EvanstonNow can't provide verbatum transcripts, so sometimes the intent gets lost. At the meeting I did not say Evanston "absolutely has been living within its means" and the article does not have quotes around that text.  I had said that we were doing things in an effort to live within our means and the additional comment "we absolutely have done that" was intended to refer to the fact that we have "done things".  We have done things, many of them difficult.  I believe we still have work to do before I am willing to say we are living within our means.  

    As for the State reducing this distribution of funds, this is not an example of reduced spending.  These are our tax dollars that are supposed to be placed back in our community.  I encourage the State to get its finances in order, but taking this allocation is not a cut in spending.  It is a tax increase because the expectation is that the City will have to either raise more money or the City will have to make more cuts so the State won't have to.

    1. Other choices….

      As one of your constituents, Aldreman, I recommend that Council consider supporting fewer bars on Howard Street or selling money pits like Halrey Clarke before advancing statements about living within our means.

      1. Choice, choice, choice, no choice
        I never heard the real reason why Hawley Clarke wasn’t sold to the Pritzgers to open a boutique B&B on that spot, but I’m glad it didn’t happen. Hawley Clarke and other properties owned by the city are assets, capable of producing income and lowering our tax burden in other areas. The financials presented by Pritzger made it clear that the property is capable of generating revenue enough to throw off 6-figures in TAXES every year. Do the math and work it back to how much net INCOME the property, so configured, would bring in if operated as a boutique B&B. Any way you slice it, it’s 7 figures a year.

        The city doesn’t know how to run a hotel? Of course not. But the Pritzgers aren’t the only ones who do — it’s knowledge available for purchase. Maybe who we hire to run such a place isn’t a Hyatt-level hospitality provider; fine, we’ll only make 1.5 million a year instead of 1.7 the Pritzgers would. This is MORE THAN WE MAKE IN TAXES, and we STILL OWN THE ASSET!!! Not happy with the hotel? try something else.

        I’m sure you’ll list several other ways in which Evanston is (variations on) “government that can’t do anything right”. I would submit to you that when you say such things you’re saying “all of us, working together, can’t do anything right.” Well, Rauner is a great example of “the private sector” — he made his money as a robber baron, buying up troubled assets, stripping out anything the least bit valuable and junking the rest, including all the people who worked at those places.

        I’m all for zero-based budgeting. Lay out your strategic plan, determine the price of government, start buying services by working down your prioritized list ’til you reach the price, then stop. But if you’re going to do that, you need to use an accounting system that doesn’t discount to near-zero the income from an asset you own, just so you can sell it for a few shekels now (we were going to get $3 million from the Pritzgers plus maybe 8 or 9% of the business profit).

        Sure it’s a choice. Keep making that choice, and at some point you won’t have a choice, because you won’t have anything of value.

        1. Sounds like a SNAFU

          Government has no business owning a business that competes against free enterprise. When government owns all businesses it is a socialist form of government that we call Communism. That is not what made this a great country. It is just as wrong as forcing people to vote or making them buy government healthcare.

          I hope that you really don't believe what you proposed.

        2. Classic and typical

          This is a great post.  I just love how you wrapped your OPINION on Rauner in a cleverly crafted email about accounting!

          Like the left says about Obama.  He is re elected, get used to it.. Elections have consequences…

          Well Rainer got elected, so deal with it.  Biz as usual under the Dems is over.  Cuts are coming and for good reason.

          Our state is so bad, our ranking across the board is horrific.  And who has run this state for the last 30 years+?  Dems.

          Change is here, less the hope… Time to get down to real business…

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