Suburban mayors, Preckwinkle speak out against proposed funding cut
A group of suburban mayors is joining Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in calling on lawmakers to oppose Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposal to cut local governments' share of state income taxes.
Pritzker, in his February budget proposal, called for the Local Government Distributive Fund to be cut by 10% percent. Local government leaders say they shouldn't have to deal with the funding cut following the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"After such a difficult year for our local governments and local economies during the pandemic, municipalities in Cook County and across the state cannot afford additional revenue losses during this period of recovery," Preckwinkle said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns accused state government of "fiscal irresponsibility" and said state leaders who didn't "keep their own house in order" should not "punish" local governments.
"Local governments have been efficient and fiscally responsible and we simply ask the state to do the same," Burns said.
Preckwinkle and Burns were joined by Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and Darien Mayor Joseph Marchese in calling on the state to keep the LGDF funded at its current rate. The legislature is scheduled to approve a budget before May 31 adjournment.
"Those millions of dollars can fix water mains and roads, can help us mitigate flooding which annually threatens our residents and businesses," Rotering said. "(The money) can support public safety and can help us hire back the 27 full time equivalents we had to let go in the last year."