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Carbondale plans tax hike, budget cuts in face of threatened state slash

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

* Carbondale prepares for the worst case scenario

The Carbondale City Council could pass its 2016 fiscal year budget tonight.

The budget includes a 0.25 tax increase as an insurance policy against looming cuts in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed state budget. Carbondale’s budget also has an anticipatory 15 percent budget cut built into it. […]

Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity said, if the cuts are more than 15 percent, the city must come up with more revenue. […]

Baity said the budget proposed general fund is balanced with revenues exceeding expenditures by $9,469, and it is set up so the city did not have to cut any essential services.

* Mayors all over the state are gearing up to oppose the governor’s proposed FY 16 cuts

Mayors from Downers Grove, to Lynwood to Hanover Park, complained that they already made drastic cuts that lawmakers in Springfield failed to make in the years following the recession and the housing bubble burst.

Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully said the state now wants to dip into a $1.2 billion Local Government Distributive Fund, money that covers 10 percent to 15 percent of local municipality budgets and are dedicated to essential services such as police, fire, garbage and snow removal. They launched a new website, ProtecttMyTown.com, for residents to quickly send letters to state lawmakers or the governor’s office about the potential impact of the cutbacks. Rauner’s proposed cuts were part of his plan to deal with a $6 billion shortfall after allowing the state’s income tax increase to expire. […]

“I’m gonna tell you, it’s like the state’s failing, and they want to take the municipalities down with them,” said [Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig]. “I’m not going to stand for that.”

* The form letter

I support ensuring that local tax dollars remain in my community to pay for essential needs like adequate police and fire protection, street repairs, snow removal, garbage collection and many more services that I rely on my municipality to provide every day.

Proposals to divert this revenue away from municipalities unfairly shift the tax burden onto my community and directly onto local taxpayers like me.

It’s a no-win situation for municipalities that don’t want to impose severe cuts in services that we have paid for and expect, or to increase property taxes to make up for the lost revenue. Either of these outcomes would negatively impact our communities and our quality of life.

Our community has been fiscally responsible and balanced its budget every year. I urge you not to shift an additional tax burden onto my community.

Thank you for your consideration and for registering my comment in opposition to reducing the Local Government Distributive Fund and other revenues rightly intended for use by local governments to provide essential services in their communities.

* Riopell has more

The effort is backed by several prominent mayors’ groups statewide, including the Northwest Municipal Conference and DuPage Mayors and Managers, showing they’ll be fighting the proposal hard for the next month.

They’re up against dozens of other interests all working to protect their share of the state’s tight budget. Mayors preserved their share in a short-term spending fix approved by lawmakers earlier this month.

But that came at the expense of schools and human services programs. Perhaps most notably, Rauner cut spending for a key autism program, a move that has been the subject of pointed questions from lawmakers.

“Overspending and insider deals put in place by career politicians have created a $6 billion budget hole while the amount of money transferred to local governments over the last decade has skyrocketed by 42 percent,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a statement. “The status quo is broken and unsustainable.”

* Charles Thomas

Criticizing the new governor puts most of these officials in a difficult place politically. Rauner, who promised to shake up state government, won the collar counties by overwhelming margins last November.

“We want to see where this all pans out. Right now we’re facing a clear and present danger,” said Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments
  1. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    “overspending and insider deals”. you mean autism? drug rehab slots? social services?


  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    “Dear Carbondale,

    Do you want a $&@#% problem?

    You’re suppose to lower taxes. Pay attention.

    Bruce Rauner
    Governor
    State of Illinois”

    “Hi ck-

    Is this what you’re hoping for when towns vote for the Turnaround Agenda?

    Asking for a friend.

    Thanks,
    ow”

    “Dear Rep. Sandack,

    You are a Dope.

    Signed,

    Your Mayoral Conscious”

    To the Mayors,

    I’m with you. Keep the realities of the “Rauner Turnaround Agenda” front and center, and what it really means.

    The Governor says often that local government and local control is best. Well, teach, don’t be led to disaster.

    Leverage is a funny thing, mayors, it only works when you actually have it. The question is, do you think your real leverage is stronger than the imagined non-binding votes that Rauner can’t get passed.

    Don’t. Let. Up.

    You’ll regret it if you do.

    OW


  3. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    The consensus that the largest tax cut in Illinois history (mostly benefiting millionaires) is a bad deal for our economy is growing.


  4. - sleepysol - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:27 am:

    In Michael Lewis’ follow up to the the big short, he wrote about how once states start to fall the buck was going to be passed down to the municipalities. Arguing that most politicians would be too craven to completely overhaul everything to fix the budget crisis’.

    He expected it to happen by 2012, looks like he was a few years off.


  5. - AC - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:27 am:

    Unless more local governments do the same, substantial cuts to shared revenue are practically guaranteed. Passing a budget with tax hikes that are only enacted if shared revenue is cut would be an excellent way to send a message.


  6. - Shemp - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    Spot on. A good number of cities lowered employee counts and raised taxes in 2009-10 budgets onward. Now the State is just pushing tax increases onto municipalities, except for those threats to cap property taxes of course. Pesky police, firefighters and public works employees for the most part.


  7. - walker - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    Reality bites.

    Many of these individuals are strong Republicans, and were vocal Rauner supporters. Did they think he was kidding?

    Love to see Rauner now do a statewide tour of speeches to locals asking for resolutions to freeze their property tax levies.

    The most common specific reason my suburban neighbors said they supported Rauner, was so they would not pay more property taxes. (Generally they were just ready for a change.)

    Did they think Rauner’s magical arithmetic would work?


  8. - jeb11 - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    Neither the Gov or the media mention that the cities have already taken a haircut on their LGDF. Prior to the temporary tax increase, they received 10%. During the tax increase, they received 7%. After the tax expired, they received 8%, with the State keeping the other 2% for ten years. The schools and autism did not take a hit to keep the cities whole. When everyone else gets a 20% cut, they can come back and talk to the Mayors.


  9. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    The economic downturn of 2010-13 was hard on munis, but ultimately good for many of them. They right-sized themselves. Ultimately, if they can get to the point where the state doesn’t have anything to hold over their heads, they’ll be better off. Negotiating the unfunded mandates away is a much more helpful thing to many of them.

    To some downstate communities, that fund is a very large portion of their revenue. That kills them. If it’s more than 2-3% of your revenue, you’ve got much bigger problems. If it’s double digits, you are subservient to the state. There’s no worse position than that. Carbondale seems to be on a path to live without the distributive fund. Good for them.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    ===The economic downturn of 2010-13 was hard on munis, but ultimately good for many of them. They right-sized themselves.===

    Examples?


  11. - Downstate - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    The adults have entered the room.
    Our local council races featured all the candidates acknowledging that the state has a HUGE problem.

    It’s easy enough to cast blame, but everyone knows that there will be pain.

    Republican legislators during the Quinn administration simply sat back and criticized. Its time now for leadership and decisive action.

    Quinn didn’t leave office with any plan - in fact his budget was flawed at the outset - only realized after he left office.

    Shared pain is the only way out.


  12. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    OW, there are many communities that reduced work forces, enacted early retirement systems, co-oped on purchasing (salt, asphalt, etc) Most did line item reviews of their budgets and saved significant dollars in their budgets. Capital Improvement Projects were re-calibrated. In at least one case I’m aware of, communities worked in tandem to do a road project that intersected 3 communities with one competitive bidding process- not sure, but I think even the county was involved in an intersection or a few in the same project. A lot of money was saved.

    City managers are often very smart folks when it comes to problem solving. When you have a severe enough loss of revenue, there is less resistance and more cooperation in many cases. Those mayors will tell you that millions of dollars were cut. Streets were still plowed, garbage was picked up. Police, Fire and EMT still answered calls. Many of them are in much better shape with reserves because some of the revenue has returned but expenses have continued to be monitored closely. No one want’s to go through that again.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    - A Guy -,

    An example, means an example, not antedotal belief.

    Thanks.


  14. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    – The economic downturn of 2010-2013 –

    Huh?

    The United States economy contracted from December 2007 to June 2009, after which it resumed positive growth, however small.


  15. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:13 am:

    Sorry dude. Search the budgets of Elmhurst, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Wood Dale, Carol Stream, Itasca, Bloomingdale, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Lombard to name a few. All of their “State of the city” addresses are on-line. Those mayors can tell you directly.


  16. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    === Wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    – The economic downturn of 2010-2013 –

    Huh?

    The United States economy contracted from December 2007 to June 2009, after which it resumed positive growth, however small.===

    Municipal Assessments run 3 years behind “Oh Clever one”. Ask your Mayor when it began to sting.


  17. - cover - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    = the amount of money transferred to local governments over the last decade has skyrocketed by 42 percent =

    That’s an annualized increase of about 3.6%.


  18. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    Guy, so when you wrote “economic downturn” you meant “decline in real estate values?”

    Maybe you should issue a decoder ring.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    ===Sorry dude. Search the budgets of Elmhurst, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Wood Dale, Carol Stream, Itasca, Bloomingdale, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Lombard to name a few. All of their “State of the city” addresses are on-line. Those mayors can tell you directly.===

    lol.

    “Sorry dude”, but you and Rauner have this belief that antedotal stories make them so, and if called on it, it’s up to us to find it.

    You find them, or keep the antedotal…

    ===Capital Improvement Projects were re-calibrated. In at least one case I’m aware of, communities worked in tandem to do a road project that intersected 3 communities with one competitive bidding process- not sure, but I think even the county was involved in an intersection or a few in the same project. A lot of money was saved.===

    … to yourself.

    Facts. Use them. Thanks.


  20. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    === Carbondale seems to be on a path to live without the distributive fund. Good for them. ===

    Yes, they’re raising taxes. Gee, it’s wise for them, but not the state?

    Oh, by the way, Gov. Sonny still wants to constrain their ability to increase taxes. So he taketh away and then taketh away.

    Mayors, that stupid resolution isn’t going to save you from cuts. Pass it and then try taking it to the bank to pay for your municipal expenses.


  21. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    Here’s one fresh off FB from Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully:

    +++Martin T. Tully I don’t disagree with you, Hank. Please know, though, that Downers Grove has cut expenses, cut programs, eliminated about 50 positions since 2010, and kept property taxes flat or lower the past four years. We have also fervently pursued opportunity to collaborate and consolidate where possible to do more with less. The state could do well to follow our example.++++


  22. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    I almost feel sorry for Brad Cole.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    Hey… - A Guy -,

    Humor me;

    What did “Hank” ask?


  24. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    === Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    === Carbondale seems to be on a path to live without the distributive fund. Good for them. ===

    Yes, they’re raising taxes. Gee, it’s wise for them, but not the state?===

    Wise or not? Don’t know enough about Carbondale to answer you Norse. I am on the record for believing there will need to be more revenue. How much more? We’ll know when we’ve seen how much waste can be flushed from this system. From whom? I think everyone is going to have to feel it. Everyone.


  25. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    Humoring Willy:
    +++Martin T. Tully thank you for standing up for higher taxes+++
    and then….
    +++Hank Time to cut expenses. Period. Look at benefits, sharing of expense w/ other municipalities and prioritizing services.+++

    Why don’t you Friend Mayor Tully. You can read all of it.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    I’m not on The Facebook.

    - A Guy -, I’m confused, you offer Mayor Tully’s platitudes, and Mayor Tully isn’t in Rauner’s corner, although the Owl Sandack, the former mayor of DG is “Rauner’s”…

    Are you saying those platitudes, like your antedotal stories… are “facts”. I can read, and not seeing anything factual backing up your assertions.


  27. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    ===Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    ===The economic downturn of 2010-13 was hard on munis, but ultimately good for many of them. They right-sized themselves.===

    Examples?====

    Asked and answered. Quit playing Willy the Coy Boy. It doesn’t become you.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    Um, - A Guy -…

    Mayor Tully ain’t sayin’…

    “…but ultimately good for many of them. They right-sized themselves.”

    I can read, I didn’t read “good”

    It ain’t being coy, it’s reading comprehension.


  29. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    According to Downer’s Grove’s actual budget book, GRF increased in FY 10, FY 11, FY 12, and FY 13.

    http://www.downers.us/public/docs/vlg_budget/2015/Section%203%20-%20Overview%20%283%29.pdf

    See page 3-8. Pretty picture included for those who struggle with reading comprehension.

    Indeed, as Word and Willy note, the hit coincided with the Bush Recession.

    Some folks apparently are unaware of the municipal dependence on the sales tax.

    Next.


  30. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 12:27 pm:

    Juv, just in time to make up the gaps in it’s lower assessed property values. Yeah, they rely on that too. Thank God for the Obama Recovery that erased that Bush Recession. Kinda makes you wonder why Bill Clinton had to tell all of America that not even he could fix what Bush wrought, so don’t blame President Obama for things getting worse. Jeesh, we going to keep fighting that one? No wonder we don’t get anywhere. Keep reading Juv. You’ve still got 5 years of catch up. OY.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    ===Juv, just in time to make up the gaps in it’s lower assessed property values. Yeah, they rely on that too.===

    Lower property taxes is a Rauner staple of the Tournaround.

    How can munis be seen “recovering” from what Rauner touts as “needed”…Hmm.


  32. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    Yeah, sorry again A guy.

    See page 3-11.

    Property tax revenues increased.

    Pictures included.

    http://www.downers.us/public/docs/vlg_budget/2015/Section%203%20-%20Overview%20%283%29.pdf


  33. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 12:42 pm:

    - Juvenal -,

    “Facts are stubborn things.”

    Sorry, that’s antedotal. My bad.


  34. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    Actually Willy, it’s a very well structured report. You should read it. I really don’t know what “antedotal” means. But I do know the Mayor was being very clear in his statements, you know, from him.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    Oh - A Guy - “anecdotal” - you rely on spell correct at times you get burned.

    If that’s all ya got out of this, a spelling lesson, that’s anecdotal too, lol.

    BTW, the mayor never said

    “…but ultimately good for many of them. They right-sized themselves.”

    You’re right, he clearly does NOT say that.


  36. - Ghost - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 1:54 pm:

    We could just get rid of tax credits and deductions for those with over 250k in income. No increase on anyone, just collecting the actual tax rate.


  37. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 2:33 pm:

    ==We’ll know when we’ve seen how much waste can be flushed from this system.==

    Like that wasteful autism funding. Back to the old “fraud, waste and abuse” saving angle?


  38. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    – … how much waste can be flushed from this system –

    Perhaps you missed it, but Rauner and his band of superstars proposed an FY16 budget.

    It proposed $200 million in unidentified “operational efficiencies,” which amounts to .6 of one percent of GRF spending.

    So there you go.


  39. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 3:23 pm:

    ===Like that wasteful autism funding===
    nope.


  40. - BlameBruceRauner - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 3:24 pm:

    The only waste the needs to be flushed is the crap that flows from the govs mouth. Its all phony.


  41. - A guy - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 3:28 pm:

    OW, teasing you a little on the ante dote. Was hoping you hadn’t gotten bit by something poisonous. lol.

    C’mon man. The Mayor stated they eliminated 50 jobs in 1 muni of about 50K people. Is is such a stretch to call it “right sizing?” If so, guilty. And tired.

    Sling, I’ll be there calling for more revenue when we’ve saved the good stuff and gotten rid of the bad stuff. I think we’ll get there sooner than you might think. It goes without saying ‘you can hold me to it’ As if you wouldn’t. lol


  42. - John - Tuesday, Apr 28, 15 @ 9:16 pm:

    In the poll in the earlier posting some said, he knows the press favor union/democrat side-proof “against looming cuts in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed state budget” Recall super majority last year did not sustain tax increase and no try to passed the blame onto Rauner-unlike feds-he doesn’t have a printing press.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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