How the proposed state budget could compound troubles for small towns

Communites could lose 5 percent in share of state tax revenues


CLINTON — City commissioner Tom Edmunds has concluded Gov. Pritzker doesn’t much understand what it takes to keep a small community afloat.  After seeing details of the governor’s proposed budget, things could be worse than he originally thought.

“They’re proposing amounts transferred to the local government distributive fund (LGDF) be decreased by 5 percent,” Edmunds said during Monday’s city council meeting.  “So, that means, if it all goes through, we’ll have 5 percent less in motor fuel tax (MFT), state income tax, use tax.”

The LGDF is a legislatively required transfer from the state general fund to local governments as their share of state income and other taxes.

That revenue helps the city in a number of areas.  Motor fuel tax revenue, for example, funds the summer street maintenance program.

Edmunds said, at least at this point, he wasn’t very positive about prospects under the proposed budget.

“They sure do not have a clue about how local governments operate,” Edmunds said.  “Between the speaker of the house and his group, and the governor, they are totally ignorant about how small governments operate.”

During the February 18 city council meeting Edmunds expressed his concern over the pending increase in the minimum wage. The governor signed the bill into law later that week.

“Because of the minimum wage increase, what does that do to your whole labor schedule to keep things equitable,” Edmunds commented at that time.

He said it would be difficult to find a source to cover higher city workers’ wages because of the increased minimum wage.

“We have absolutely no way to get that money from anyplace,” Edmunds said.

As a non-home rule community, Clinton cannot set its property tax rate but must rely on other sources of revenue to pay for increased costs of operation.