Gov. Bruce Rauner’s first state budget, unveiled today, would cut income tax revenue shared with local governments in half — punching a $3.75 million hole in Evanston’s city budget.

Rauner, in his budget address, said he would increase funding for elementary and secondary education as well as for early childhood education.

But he proposes deep cuts in funding for public higher education and for mass transit

Rauner also says he plans to save $2.2 billion next year by freezing existing pension plans for most state workers and moving them a new plan with lower benefit levels for future years of work — a concept that is likely to draw a court challenge.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz could not immediately be reached for comment on the impact of the governor’s plan on the city.

The proposed funding cut represents about 1.6 percent of the city’s total $230 million spending plan for this year.

State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston said he welcomed Rauner’s “willingness to make specific budget proposals.”

But Biss said the Rauner plan “singles out working families and the most vulnerable among us for the deepest cuts, while asking nothing of the rich.”

“It is simply unconscionable to slash Medicaid, foster care, and much of the rest of our safety net while leaving the most fortunate among us untouched,” Biss said.

And, Biss said, “It is completely irresponsible to claim to balance a budget through pension reforms that would surely be litigated. An inevitable lawsuit will leave the state in financial limbo while the proposal meanders its way through the judicial system, and banking the savings of such a plan during that process puts us at risk of further damaging the fiscal condition of the pension systems.”

Update 8:50 p.m. 2/18/15: This evening Mayor Tisdahl issued a statement in which she said:

“I am disappointed by Governor Rauner’s proposal to help balance the State’s budget with a reduction in the portion of the State Income Tax specifically designated for cities. Cities share in the State Income Tax in lieu of individual jurisdictions taxing income.

“Governor Rauner’s proposal is a tax increase. Instead of the State adjusting revenues, the Governor is forcing cities and villages to raise taxes to replace this needed revenue.

“The City of Evanston has worked hard to balance its budget in recent years and live within our means. The Governor is now asking cities to solve the budget problems of the State of Illinois which we did not create.”

Video of Rauner’s speech

YouTube video

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. No polite words for this

    No polite words for this horrible Scrooge. May he sleep well on his piles of money, knowing the kids he hurt.

    1. “Horrible Scrooge” ?

      If Governor Rauner is "Horrible Scrooge" what do you call President of the House, Mike Madigan?

      And what do you call President of the Senate John Cullerton?

      Mike the Pillager and John the Plunderer?

      To refresh your memory, Mike Madigan has been in Springfield for almost 40 years, and has been President of the House of Representatives for about 30 years. Governor Rauner was JUST elected.

      The major problems confronting Illinois, and they are MAJOR, did not just occur, but became bigger and BIGGER over the last 30 + years. 

      Mike the Pillager has enriched himself at taxpayer expense during his reign,(ever wonder how Madigan became so wealthy?) and now "Horrible Scrooge" is exposing, confronting, and trying to fix the problems in Illinois.

      And he's the bad guy?

      1. Pocket Stuffing
        Looking in to the background of his staff they are no more qualified than the outgoing Administration . We’re talking 11 to 94% higher in salary , I don’t see how this is helping the State of Illinois but putting it further in the red.He vowed there would be less spending out governor’s office, We have to also to question the political connections of the staff, One being a former deputy chief of staff for Sen. Mark Kirk who was a strong Rauner supporter His salary is a 38% Increase of his predecessor’s .Making it sound more and more like the old pay to play scandal.

        1. But you Noah Alittle

          at least you acknowledge under the prior administration that it was "the old pay to play scandal." Governor Rauner has clearly stated that the old ways of doing government business are over. Sure there will be problems with his administration and mistakes will be made. No one is naive enough to think otherwise. But this Governor is focused on fixing the many problems facing our great state, and he's committed to creating an environment where all people can thrive and not just the privileged and connected few. Your claim that the "background of his staff are no more qualified than the outgoing Administration" is purely your opinion and not substantiated by any evidence. Time will tell, but i like many Illinoisans are sick and tired of the corrupt politics in our State. Maybe Mike Madigan and John Cullerton will step aside too…Wishful thinking.

          1. Truly a Paine

            How wrong you are , it cleary shows this incoming administration is nothing but more cronyism. Where could he possibly be helping the State of Illinios by putting it futher in the red , cutting essential programs . all i forsee is greater increase in the crime rate , maybe that's why he chose to hire more prison guards , protect the crimminals instead of the residents of Illinois.This is nothing more than a I'll take away your toys and give them to my friends administration. By the way it is  public record of each of the administrations educational backgrounds . Hope the gate around your little fairytale land is secure. 

          2. Noah less than I thought

            Hopefully you are not a lawyer or public defendant. You provide opinions, not facts. "it clearly shows" ? What is "it"? How can you say there's "more cronyism" when this administration hasn't been in office long enough to demonstrate ANY cronyism? "further in the red?" If you read, or listen to any of Governor Rauner's talks, you will clearly understand that one of his primary goals is to improve the fiscal situation in Illinois. That is the opposite of your statement, "further in the red." By the way, you and I can thank Mike Madigan, John Cullerton, Governor Quinn, Blago et al for all the red ink in Illinois. Educational backgrounds are interesting,but anyone who has hired an employee knows that one's pedigree is only worth the paper its written on. It's the person and their ability to do the job they're hired for that matters. And so far Governor Rauner appears to be hiring highly qualified and capable people. He's not hiring people who know somebody in the Illinois political machine.

  2. It had to happen
    After years of Evanston and I assume many other cities spending state money [so called ‘grants’ and other funds and give aways to groups and over promising employees and unions money that cities could not afford] like money was just picked off the ‘money tree’ for every conceivable pet project and ‘feel good’ spending, the governor has said this has to stop. The governor has pointed out that the chickens came home to roost and now everyone will have to suffer.

  3. Arboretum Path, Penny Park, Rauner….

    Put all of the projects on hold where there is disagreement.  Repair what we have and start putting any saved revenue into the pot we are going to need for the Rauner shortfall.  If the Arboretum needs a new path, start a path fund and let them begin programs where they charge a small entry fee.  In a few years they should have enough revenue to put in whatever type of path they choose to.  "TheOriginalAnonymousAl" is right in one of his recent posts when he points out that there is a discrepancy in how monies are spent in different areas of this town.  We are all in this together and that means that some of our more wealthy sections will need to go without in support of their brethren who have less and are already going without because of the high taxes we already pay.  We should collectively demand our city government reign in the heavy spending that is going on in this town.  Support of private businesses in hope of some magical economic development success is fine when belts don't need to be tight, but that is not this time in history.  People have a set amount of money to spend and they will do it at one grocery store or another, one restaurant or another, one coffee shop or another…. etc.  Just because we have multiple options does not mean that people will now go out and buy multiples of the same.  Every resident has a budget in which they live.  Having more options does not mean that our individual budgets are going to magically grow so we can spend more (although that would be nice).  Let's think about ALL of Evanston and do what is best for ALL residents here and tighten up the belt on things that aren't necessary until we find out exactly what Rauner's comments mean to us.

  4. The Mayor’s knows how to waste our tax dollars!

    The Mayor is a known waster of our tax dollars – her most recent proposal – increase the youth summer job program from 500 kids to a 1000 kids!   She also has done plenty to benefit her friends, such as NU and others.

    Wally continues to misuse our money building patios, and using the under $20,000 rule to spending behind closed doors so to speak.

    Then,our council members, the newest waste is they buy a building in the 5th ward and now want to turn it into a Recreation center?

    Of course they will use this for a tax increase on us, I suggest certain Alderperson stop having the city do their web sites as a first cost saving.

  5. Chickens came home to roost

    So the city officials are complaining about the governor’s new budget. The city has made gifts to every business it has picked as a ‘winner’ [leaving other businesses to fend for themselves], group that meets their cultural, political or social view, awnings, planters and on and on. Wages, pensions and promises to workers they know they cannot keep. Then they cry that they will be hurt by the budget. Sounds like the boy who kills his parents and then plead for mercy since he is an orphan. Council you brought this on yourselves, and now you want taxpayers to bail you out again ? Learn about economics and budgets like the rest of us have too.

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