Return more state income tax to local government


Few Illinoisans realize this, but when the state created an income tax, it promised it would return some of your income taxes to the community where you live. These revenues constitute the Local Government Distribution Fund (LGDF), which has historically been distributed to municipalities and counties based on population.

Each local government depends on LGDF revenues to provide essential services, including police and fire protection, road repair and maintenance, flood prevention, and infrastructure investment.

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LGDF money pledged to our communities was 10% of all annual income tax revenue from 1993 to 2011. However, the state has reduced the amount it returns to your community to just a little more than 6% today, a reduction of almost 40% compared to the past. decade.

Let’s state the obvious: you pay more but get less back in your local community. How much less? LGDF revenue can represent between 10% and 20% of a municipality’s operating budget, which means these cuts could amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in lost revenue each year for your community, depending of its population.

Since local governments cannot rely on sufficient and stable funding through LGDF, many have had to find other sources of income. In some cases, that includes property tax increases, which are already high in Illinois.

The Illinois General Assembly has an opportunity to reduce reliance on property taxes in general by reducing LGDF to the promised 10%, or at least the 8% included in recent legislation by Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D -Chicago Heights and Senator Laura. Murphy, D-DesPlains. The General Assembly needs to hear from their constituents that lawmakers should approve this bipartisan compromise plan before the end of the legislative session on April 8.

The time has come. The state’s financial health has improved significantly over the past few years, resulting in a reduced backlog of bills, improved credit ratings and a $1.7 billion surplus. There’s no better time to prioritize funding for local governments that have suffered budget cuts for more than a decade.

Municipalities are required to balance our budgets every year. All of our communities are making tough decisions about how to continue to meet the needs of residents and businesses with fewer resources. Cost-cutting has helped cover lost revenue in the past, but municipalities and counties now have to pay for new unfunded state mandates and skyrocketing public safety pension costs.

Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, President of the Municipal League of Illinois
Mayor of Palos Park, John F. Mahoney, Chair, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus

Gasoline, transit pass gift crosses the line

There’s no one more progressive/liberal than me, but the mayor’s current plan to hand out gas and transit cards is out of line.

It’s hers only if she funds this grossly political movement with her own money like Willie Wilson did.

If our city council were to pass this lark somehow, the gas card lottery should only include city residents who have purchased current vehicle decals. All pass holders transit should be eligible. I ask council members to continue to be mindful of our city’s precarious financial situation.

Dwain Thomas, South Loop

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