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Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl is joining mayors throughout Illinois expressing grave concern about drastic service reductions or significant property tax increases from proposed cuts to local government revenues disbursed by the state.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl is joining mayors throughout Illinois expressing grave concern about drastic service reductions or significant property tax increases from proposed cuts to local government revenues disbursed by the state.

The proposed cuts, she said, would cost Evanston over $2 million a year.

At a joint meeting of the Northwest Municipal Conference Executive Board and it’s Legislative Committee last week, Tisdahl and other members discussed the $300 million reduction in local government revenues unveiled by the Senate Republican Caucus.

Discussion centered on the crippling effect of these cuts on governments who have already made tough budget decisions. The Northwest Municipal Conference is the regional Council of Governments representing forty-two municipalities in the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago.

“The City of Evanston has worked diligently to live within our means.  It is unfortunate that the General Assembly is looking to cities and villages to make up the deficits of the State of Illinois,” Tisdahl said.

“Since the recession began, our members have taken responsible steps to balance our budgets through strategic reductions in personnel and local services,” said NWMC President and Glenview Village President Kerry Cummings, “with economic conditions failing to improve, many of our communities have now been forced to reduce the number of police and firefighters protecting our citizens.  The proposed cuts on top of what we’ve already done may constitute a fatal blow to many towns.”

NWMC members have significantly reduced or eliminated numerous municipal services, cancelled or deferred repairs to deteriorating roadways and century old underground water and sewer pipes, slashed personnel and incorporated innovative best practices to make operations more efficient while using fewer fiscal resources.

However, after nearly four years of reduced revenues due to the economy, many NWMC members have now been reduced to cutting fundamental public safety services including police officers and firefighters.

The Senate Republican proposal would eliminate approximately $30 million from NWMC communities and would require significant increases in local taxes to replace.  On the heels of the income tax increase enacted earlier this year, local leaders believe that taxpayers would strongly resist any increases in local taxes, especially in non-home rule municipalities where voter approval for tax increases would be required.

The state distributes several sources of revenue to local governments. The Local Government Distributive Fund, which represents a 6% share of the personal and state income tax, was instituted in 1969 in exchange for municipalities not imposing their own income tax.

The state also distributes Motor Fuel Tax revenues that are used for local transportation projects and to leverage federal transportation funding. Local sales taxes are also collected by the state and later returned to the originating municipality.

“The claim that $300 million represents only a 5% reduction to local governments is seriously flawed math.  The money is locally generated; the state is merely the collection agent.  Let’s be clear that this is not state aid.  Local governments have been partners with the state for more than four decades.” said NWMC Executive Director Mark Fowler.

Mayor Tisdahl is leading a delegation of over 60 Evanston community leaders to Springfield on Wednesday to share the concerns of Evanston residents with the Governor, members of the General Assembly and other key state leaders.

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3 Comments

  1. The mayor should blast her own party and the governor

    Wow, the City of Evanston released this press release, blaming the Senate Republican Caucus for proposing a municipal revenue reduction.

    Funny, but no mention that Democrat Governor Pat Quinn is proposing nearly the SAME THING!!!!! And no mention that the Illinois Policy Institute, the Governor Taxpayer Action Board and the Civic Committee all support a municipal revenue reduction.

    Please note that ALL Illinois Republicans voted AGAINST a tax income hike on individuals and businesses during a lame-duck session after Democrats righteously took a shellacking in the Nov. 1 elections.

    As a result of the Democrat tax income increase that government union employees demanded during a march last year on Springfield dozens of  Illinois businesses have or are making plans to relocate out of state. Now even Caterpillar is looking to relocate out of state.

    This is not a budget problem more than it is a problem caused by Democrats who rule the state and obviously Evanston.

  2. Hey glenview, didn’t you

    Hey glenview, didn't you build that taj mahal of a police station, a $30m library no one goes to, buy a farm and squander millions on the glen. You have no right to talk about fiscal responsibility

    1. Are you…

      Jealous?

      My hometown of Glenview.  I applaud all they have done.  The Farm – family oriented facility rather than a strip mall (I thought this would be something you would applaud). 

      Library – had you by chance visited the old Library?  It was an investment that was needed.  No one goes there?  Really?  What is your comment about Evanston's downtown branch?  Somewhat new facility, or are you still hung up on branches.

      Police Station – I guess I do not understand this either.  Had you ever seen the prior police station?  Probably not. 

      The Glen – nice to welcome retail and business (something Evanston has trouble doing) in a residential community.  And a fantastic new school, and community center as well.

      Why don't you focus on Evanston, our community rather than worrying about other communities.  This has been a city that has been mismanaged for decades.  Only today are the results of this coming to fruition.

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