Thursday, May 12, 2011

Village of La Grange Park Special Bulletin and Legislative Alert

Special Bulletin and Legislative Alert
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Village Urges Residents to Contact State Legislators

May 10, 2011 - The Village's financial stability is in jeopardy and we need your help. The Village of La Grange Park urges residents to contact legislators in Springfield. Your voice needs to be heard. Please contact our local legislators and demand that the state budget not be balanced on the back of YOUR community (details below).

This Tuesday (May 10, 2011), the La Grange Park Village Board will approve a resolution urging the Illinois General Assembly to oppose any proposal that would reduce the local share of Illinois income tax receipts (the Local Government Distributive Fund or LGDF).

Last week, Village President Jim Discipio and Trustee Marshall Seeder and staff traveled to Springfield to discuss this matter with lawmakers and urge them to oppose any reduction to the LGDF. The Village spoke with Representatives Nybo and Zalewski and Senators Landek and Sandack. Village officials also spoke with legislative leaders in an effort to make them understand that any cuts would not only be unsustainable but would devastate the La Grange Park community.

The state income tax was originally imposed more than 40 years ago with the promise and agreement that local municipalities would share in the revenue. Up until January of 2011, cities received 10% of total income tax collected. For the Village of La Grange Park, this translates to an estimated $1,060,000, about 14% of all revenues collected in our General Fund. Clearly, if the state legislature votes to take away our share of the income tax, Village services would be devastated - and very different than what we have now.

Any proposed cuts in funds to municipalities being talked about in Springfield would have a profound impact directly on residents.

POSSIBLE service reductions COULD include:
• Snow removal operations
• Fire response time
• Police response time
• Longer waits for permits/inspections
• Fewer road improvement projects
• Impacts on Community Programs - Police and Fire Programs in the schools and community.
Simply put, the impact of the revenue reduction would be devastating to the Village of La Grange Park.

One proposal being floated around Springfield is the reduction of $300 million from cities and counties. This would mean the reduction of $23.40 per resident in La Grange Park. Doing the math - this is 13,579 x $23.40, equaling $317,748.60 - eliminated from the annual budget. This type of reduction is unsustainable for a Village our size, where all revenues in the General Fund Operating Budget totaled $7,142,465 last fiscal year (estimated). Another proposal being considered is the total removal of the LGDF, which for our Village is estimated to be $1,060,000 each year. If the Village has to reduce either amount from the operating budget - it could result in drastic cuts in front line service to residents. This is unacceptable and unfair to residents in La Grange Park as well as Illinois citizens as a whole.

Local governments, such as the Village of La Grange Park are already doing what we can with what we have. Since the financial downturn, the Village's share of annual income tax revenue has significantly declined. In 2008, we collected $1,252,606 - we now budget about $200,000 less than that. The Village has been fiscally responsible by being quick to respond to this reduction by not filling vacated positions, cutting training and community programs, and postponing capital projects for one year.

At the same time, the Illinois legislature raised the personal income tax rate from 3% to 5% in January and left municipalities out of that increase. The state lowered the percentage of collections for municipalities from 10% to 6% of receipts, keeping all of the incremental increase in tax revenue in Springfield to shore up the state's budget deficit. The estimated reduction in local government's share of revenue puts an additional $2.7 billion in the state's coffers between 2011 and 2015, at the expense of municipalities and counties. The Village continues to stay financially sound through very tough decision making by the Village Board. If any reduction is accepted - La Grange Park's financial stability will be impacted.

Please contact your local legislators in Springfield.
At the Village's website, you will find a contact list for the legislators serving La Grange Park, as well as for the legislative leadership in Illinois. Also a template of a letter (to mail or fax) is available for download.

To be directed to the Village's website to download the letters and access legislative contacts, click here.

Questions? Please call the Village of La Grange Park at: 708-354-0225.

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