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The Illinois Municipal League is partnering with municipal leaders across the state in a legislative platform that aims to ensure long-term funding for cities, towns and villages.
It's called “Moving Cities Forward” and calls for initiatives that protect municipal revenues. One is the protection of the Local Government Distributive Fund, which sets aside a percentage of state income tax revenues for municipalities and other local governments.
When created, the fund was designed to allocate 10% of state income tax collections to help fund programs and services provided by municipalities.
Since 2011, the LGDF has been cut by the state several times, according to the IML. For the fiscal year 2021, the local share is 6.06% of individual tax collections and 6.84% of corporate income tax collections. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget would cut LGDF by an additional 10%.
“We are trying to highlight a number of issues around protecting local revenues, ending unfunded mandates, and reducing the state’s effort to preempt local authority,” IML Executive Director Brad Cole said. “We see every year that proposals offer to cut the local share of state revenues and this is not a time for that.”
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Local elected officials are also asking state lawmakers to address the fiscal strain posed by downstate public safety pension funds by extending the amortization schedules, so municipalities are better equipped to meet their obligations to both public safety personnel and taxpayers.
The “Moving Cities Forward” platform also addresses the need for local governments to provide economic relief to local businesses as they work to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cole said IML’s proposal would allow municipalities to provide grants, subsidies or loans to local businesses within Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts that have experienced business interruptions.
“Illinois municipalities, as well as businesses of all sizes and industries, have struggled amid the pandemic,” said IML vice president and Mayor of Decatur Julie Moore Wolfe. “Municipal governments best understand the needs of their constituents, however, there are limited means for how they can provide economic support to local businesses during this time. Local officials must be given the tools to effectively address those needs.”