Kane Co. won't sign on to condemnations of Rauner budget plan

 
 
Updated 3/18/2015 6:35 PM

Kane County will not join the wave of local taxing bodies sending protest letters to Gov. Bruce Rauner about losing some of their state income tax money.

Instead, county officials will adopt a neutral stance on the state budget in hopes that Springfield lawmakers formulate a plan that benefits everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Projections by Kane County Finance Director Joe Onzick show a $1.7 million financial blow to the county's budget if Rauner's plan to halve the local income tax share goes through. Next year, with a full 12 months of lost revenue, Kane County would have a $2.8 million budget hole.

Despite that, members of the board's legislative committee agreed Wednesday not to sign on to any written criticism of Rauner's plan.

Committee Chairman Brian Pollock said the county's state lawmakers are already aware of the potential impact to the county, and he is confident they will vote in the best interests of the county.

"We've made it very clear to our local legislators that we don't want them to vote for a budget that's going to cut our share in half," Pollock said. "I don't think it's best for Kane County to take a direct position on either side of how they deal with this budget problem."

Committee member Doug Scheflow went a step further in expressing confidence in Rauner to make tough decisions that provide trickle down benefits to local governments.

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"The state is in a desperate situation, and they have to take desperate measures," Scheflow said. "Everybody's ox is going to have to be gored. In the long run, if we could just turn the (state) finance in the right direction, employers will stay, people will stay and tax revenue will go up. We'll see benefits from rising sales taxes."

In the meantime, Kane County will hedge against a future funding loss from the state by socking away about $2 million of an expected $4.6 million surplus from last year's budget.

Pollock left the door open to reversing course if state lawmakers ultimately craft a plan that puts the county in an even tougher spot.

"Right now, I think our lawmakers understand the value of this proposal to the county," he said. "They understand the promise that was made years ago to protect this money."

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