Updated March 5
North Shore communities are paying close attention to proposed municipal budget cuts that Governor Bruce Rauner introduced in late February to close the widening deficits in the state’s bank account. The plan, if successful, would reduce the amount of state income tax proceeds they receive each year from 8% to 4%. Although it would provide Illinois a savings of $600 million a year, this lost revenue would affect services such as police and fire protection, road maintenance and parks, public transit and community programs, according to local administrators.
The measure is still under consideration, with analysts saying it will likely not pass as written. But town leaders are taking note.
Glenview administrators said in a newsletter to residents that they “are studying the impact of the governor’s proposal,” which would decrease the town’s revenue by $2.2 million dollars. “The loss of this revenue source poses an additional challenge,” they further noted, and could lead to reduced staffing and other cost-containment measures.
Highland Park’s Mayor Nancy Rotering, wary of the town’s estimated $1.4 million in cuts, said “We as a city have acted responsibly and made the tough decisions in managing our finances and expect the same of our state partner,” she said in a press release. “We will continue to achieve our goals and objectives with a watchful eye as Governor Rauner plays a very risky game of chess with the General Assembly. It is unfortunate that we are being dragged into this strategic game that he is playing with our money and quality of life. I encourage each of you to call upon our state legislators Scott Drury and Julie Morrison to tell them how to make the next move to protect what is ours.” She added that “the city’s operating budget is balanced and focused on our core priorities of fiscal stability, public safety and investment in our infrastructure.”
The Village of Winnetka also encouraged residents to contact the Governor, a resident of the village, using this pre-set email system established by the Illinois Municipal League, which generates an opposition letter to the Governor and each state senator and representative from the district. “A 50% reduction would impact Winnetka and all local governments, including public works and public safety programs as well as services to residents, businesses and visitors,” said an official statement. “This revenue loss, especially in the short-term, would negatively impact the current fiscal year 2015 budget and upcoming fiscal year 2016 budget.”
At an all-time high, municipalities once received 10% of income tax revenue in Illinois’ Local Government Distributive Fund. That was in 1969. In 2011, it had declined to 6% before increasing to 8% for the current year; but the 4% totals for 2016 represent a new low. A chart on RebootIllinois.com shows some of the reported dollar figures that North Shore communities would lose in these new cuts, which are based on population:
- Deerfield: $900,592
- Glencoe: $431,049
- Glenview: $2,208,466
- Highland Park: $1,470,746
- Kenilworth: $124,181
- Lake Bluff: $282,754
- Lake Forest: $957,420
- Northbrook: $1,639,103
- Northfield: $267,831
- Wilmette: $1,338,511
- Winnetka: $602,223