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B-N Mayors Relieved Over State Income Tax Share

The City of Bloomington and Town of Normal will not have to find replacements for income tax revenue shared by the state.

Bloomington-Normal mayors said they're pleased the state didn't grab part of the cities' share of income tax money after all.

Gov. JB Pritzker had wanted to siphon off 10% of the revenue from the Local Government Distributive Fund to plug holes in the state budget, but lawmakers did not pass the measure during the spring session.

Mayor Chris Koos of Normal said cities and towns have financial pressures, too.

"It's a very important part of our budget and more so in a COVID-19 environment," said Koos.

Koos praised the Illinois Municipal League for fighting attempts by Pritzker and previous Gov. Bruce Rauner to grab some of the money from municipalities. Koos said had the state taken the money, it would have made town budgets more difficult to balance. The town gets about $5.6 million per year from that source.

The cut also would have affected counties.

"Any of those cuts are devastating to us because we're pretty much bottom line. We try to operate fairly bare bones in our situation," McLean County Board Chair John McIntyre said back in February.

City and town income tax revenue sharing was a key part of the compromise that allowed creation of the state income tax several decades ago.

Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe said he is concerned over the multiple attempts to siphon part of cities' share in income tax revenue.

"I think it is troubling to me because I have always been a big proponent of keeping promises once they have been made. That provides the level of trust needed for government to function," said Mwilambwe.

Koos said unfunded mandates have not been uncommon for the state to hand down to municipalities. He said one more is being bruited about — pension improvements for firefighters, that cities and towns would have to pay for if state lawmakers agree on the changes.

Mwilambwe said citizens need to be able to trust government to do what it says it will do.

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