Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun is asking residents to support a statewide initiative to prevent proposed cuts to the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), a longtime revenue source for municipalities across Illinois.
In his summer message to Flossmoor residents, posted late last month on the community’s website, Braun said the village would lose about $468,000 a year if LGDF funds are cut by 50 percent in the new state budget. Governor Bruce Rauner proposed the 50 percent cut in his state budget message in March.
“Translated into village services, this is equivalent to almost 50 percent of the village’s police officer expenses and is more than the total paid on-call fire department staff expenses,” Braun said. “LGDF revenues are the second largest source of revenue in the village’s general fund.
“To say that a loss of revenue of this magnitude would be devastating to Flossmoor is an understatement. Toward that end, the village board and I are doing everything possible to resist and block any reduction in LGDF revenue.”
Braun is asking village residents to go online to voice support for continued LGDF revenues.
Homewood officials have said the village will lose $900,000 if Rauner’s LGDF cuts go into effect.
Rauner has said that Illinois municipalities have sufficient reserves to offset the loss of state revenue. Braun told the H-F Chronicle that the governor is wrong; that cutting revenues will weaken local government and that Rauner’s approach “reinforces Southland mayors’ belief that the governor knows little about the financial difficulties of many Southland communities.”
The new governor has also proposed legislation to freeze real estate property taxes. Braun said that would also be a mistake since property taxes are the lifeblood of school districts and municipalities. Freezing property taxes, he said, “will further strangle local government and schools.”
Braun said Flossmoor elected officials are lobbying local state legislators to vote against cutting LGDF funds. This spring, he testified against the LGDF cuts before the combined State Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Braun and board members are also working with South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Illinois Municipal League, which have also come out against the cuts.
The LGDF was created more than 45 years ago to provide municipalities with a share of the state income tax revenues, Braun said.
“Sharing of state income funds with municipalities is based upon the correct principal that a portion of the income taxes paid by residents should go directly back to the residents for their local communities,” Braun said. “The Local Government Distributive Fund has been an essential component of municipalities’ budgets for payment of local services that communities like Flossmoor must provide.”
Rauner and Democratic state legislators remain deadlocked over a new state budget. The current regular legislative session ended May 31 and the General Assembly must now go into a special session.
Both sides are still far apart. Democrats approved a spending plan before the May 31 deadline but expenditures were $3 billion over state revenues. Rauner responded with a series of proposed cuts to services throughout the state. A budget impasse is expected to last well into the summer.
Braun said he expects that the proposed LGDF cuts and property tax freeze “will probably be back in play” as statehouse negotiations continue.