Suburban mayors don't want state to fix budget with their money

  • Robert Abboud

    Robert Abboud

By Jeff Engelhardt
Updated 5/18/2011 3:59 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- While the General Assembly has yet to act on Senate Republicans' suggestion to withhold $300 million in income tax share from municipalities, many suburban mayors came to Springfield Wednesday to protest the looming threat.

Mayors from across the state said a cut from the Local Government Distributive Fund, which gives municipalities their share of the income tax, would be devastating for public safety across the state.


Sean Smoot, director of the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, said many municipalities have cut public safety by 15 percent, including the Waukegan Police Department, which laid off eight more officers on Sunday.

"Police departments have been cut to the bone," Smoot said. "It's a very simple equation, less money means less safety."

Though Senate Republicans proposed the idea of withholding municipalities' share of the income tax more than a month ago as part of their menu of budget cuts, the Senate has since passed almost its full budget with no cuts to the local share of income tax.

Still, Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud said the threat is real and the state has no right to threaten keeping municipalities' money.

He said he is concerned some lawmakers have threatened to keep all $300 million of the fund to leverage local governments into agreeing to give up a smaller percentage.

"It would be no different if you had a job ... and you had direct deposit," Abboud said. "And if the bank one day said 'You know what, we made some real bad investments. We have some problems with the way the bank is running. We're going to go and take your direct deposit from your job.'"

One alternative that was suggested by the governor's office would be to delay the payments so other agencies that are still months behind could be paid.