The Northwest Municipal Conference, a group representing 45 local governments in the Chicago suburbs including Evanston, unveiled a set of goals for the new state legislative session at a breakfast meeting in Northbrook today.

The session featured a speech by the state’s new governor, Bruce Rauner, who was introduced by the municipal conference’s president, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.

The mayors’ group says it wants “a pro-growth environment that reduces the burden on local taxpayers.”

It says that can be achieved by consolidating local public safety pension funds, reform of the public employee union arbitration process, reducing the impact of the prevailing wage act andl owering the cost of workers’ compensation.

The group says it recognizes that the state is “facing yet another budget doomsday,” but says “balancing the state budget on the backs of communities would be disastrous for local taxpayers” and that without the key infrastructure and public safety services that local communities provide “Illinois will be unable to attract and retain businesses and workers.”

The governor poses at the breakfast meeting with, from left, State Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston, and aldermen Peter Braithwaite and Ann Rainey.

And, on the federal level, the group calls for strategic investment in critical infrastructure, claiming “our state is crumbling” — and that federal lawmakers need to identify sustainable transportation revenue sources.

Rauner, in a 30-minute speech, offered no specifics on how he planned to fix the state’s ills, instead promising to offer details in his state of the state and budget addresses next month.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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