* Back in 2011, several mayors openly opposed the income tax hike plan. As a result of that, and the fact that Democrats wanted to get every state dollar they could get in a very tough time, the revenue from the 2 point tax hike was not shared with local governments.
Things are apparently different this time around…
In a May 1 letter to members that was obtained by the Daily Herald, the head of the Oak Brook-based [DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference] urges municipal leaders to support keeping the state’s income tax rate at 5 percent to curry future “political capital” and possibly increase the local share of the income tax revenue.
“More active support would result in even more political leverage on (the Local Government Distributive Fund) and other current and future issues,” the agency’s executive director, Mark Baloga, wrote in the letter. […]
Baloga’s letter indicates the group’s support for keeping the higher tax rate would be “conditional” on increasing the share of income taxes that goes to towns and on direct deposit of that revenue into municipal coffers to end delays in state payments. […]
“It’s a statement of political reality,” he said. “We have heard again and again from our advisers that the extension is likely to happen regardless of anything DuPage Mayors and Managers does or does not do. The best way to protect or enhance those funds is to support the extension.” […]
Meanwhile, officials at the Illinois Municipal League, which also receives taxpayer funding from dues paid by member towns, has publicly announced its support of the tax rate’s continuation, but on the condition that the local share be increased to 10 percent.
* The Question: Should the state share any of the revenue from the 2-point tax hike with local governments if the tax hike is made permanent? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
*** UPDATE *** As if on cue, here comes the heat. From a press release…
After facing years of funding cuts, Illinois’ schools could get more than $1 billion in new funding as State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) is urging his colleagues to truly make education the priority they claim it is.
Currently, mayors and village presidents get a cut of the state’s income tax with no strings attached. Trotter’s proposal ends that giveaway and instead steers the dollars – $1.45 billion in the upcoming budget year – to the state’s public schools in an effort to have the state finally live up to its education funding commitments.
“We cannot afford to ignore the fact that a strong education system is the key to our state’s future, especially with the looming proposition of extreme budget cuts when across the board tax breaks kick in at the end of this year,” said Trotter, a longtime advocate for public schools students. “Money with no restrictions on how it may be used in the hands of mayors and local officials is not a prudent expenditure of taxpayer dollars given the realities we face. If we have to prioritize state funding, I believe that education should always be at the top of our list.”
Existing law takes 6 percent of all the individual income money and nearly 7 percent of all corporate income tax net collections and sends it to local governments. The funding is based solely on population. Need is not a factor.
Meanwhile, Trotter’s plan would reverse the recent trend of the state failing to live up to its own school funding expectations, with the current budget only providing 89 percent of what the state says it should be providing. To help remedy this situation, Trotter’s plan would fill that gap and potentially allow for an increase.
“We face a lot of tough decisions in our budget. In a funding fight between city hall and the classroom, I’m always going to side with the school children. If our students and schools aren’t our top priority then our future is truly in trouble,” Trotter said.