Mayors: Really 3 things in Rauner budget hurt suburbs

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked local governments to sacrifice some of the money they get from the state to help Illinois' budget.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked local governments to sacrifice some of the money they get from the state to help Illinois' budget. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/3/2015 6:04 AM

Suburban mayors say Gov. Bruce Rauner's push to cut their income tax share is just one of three of his proposals that would make it nearly impossible to continue paying for local government services.

Mayors groups representing many suburbs outlined the trifecta in a letter to Rauner in which they ask the Republican to reconsider his plan to cut half their towns' share of Illinois' income taxes, a move that could cost individual suburbs millions of dollars per year each.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

They also highlighted Rauner's desire to freeze their property taxes and his proposal to exempt firefighters and police officers from proposed pension benefit cuts. Suburban mayors have been trying to save money via those pension cuts for years, but they've not yet persuaded lawmakers to go along.

"This additional one-two punch to local governments will take away the ability to fund the rising costs of basic government services and public safety pensions, which have been well-documented as unsustainable," the letter said. Signers included the presidents of the Barrington Area Council of Governments, DuPage Mayors and Managers, McHenry County Council of Governments, Northwest Municipal Conference and Will County Government League, among others.

Rauner says the state's next budget faces a $6.2 billion hole in part because of Democrats' shoddy budget-making last year. Spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said the amount of money the state has sent to local officials has "ballooned" over 10 years and that local governments have to sacrifice.

The cut would cost Schaumburg $3.5 million, Naperville $7 million, Algonquin $1.5 million and Batavia $1.3 million, to give a few examples.

"Through the local government task force, Gov. Rauner is committed to working with local communities to reduce costs and give them increased flexibility," Kelly said in a statement. "Additionally, as part of his Turnaround Agenda, the governor proposed empowering local residents with tools to control costs at the local level and get more value for their tax dollars."

Mayors in previous years were able to thwart former Gov. Pat Quinn's attempts to reduce their share of income taxes.

But as Rauner is proposing big cuts to a swath of government programs, from universities to care for the disabled to drug addiction treatment, among others, mayors could face a tough fight.

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