Winter is coming and the Illinois Municipal League is sounding an alarm over shared resources from the state being held up during the ongoing budget impasse. IML Executive Director Brad Cole says they’re undertaking an effort to unify local governments to urge the state to release various funds owed to local governments. Cole says the money is important to pay for road salt and drivers who clear local roads.
“Again, these are dollars that do not impact the state budget. They’re passthrough money that’s charged locally, collected by the state and then returned to cities. So, if the General Assembly and the Governor can come together and release those funds then the problem is solved. If not, I think most municipalities are gonna have a hard time getting through the winter.”
Effingham County: We absolutely need motor fuel tax funds
With the winter months approaching, and the snow and ice that comes with it, local governments may begin to feel the cold sting of the state budget impasse–especially the state holding on to motor fuel tax money shared with local governments. Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann says several truck stops alongside an interstate in his county generate a lot of motor fuel tax revenue that the state is holding onto during the ongoing budget impasse.
“If we don’t see some funding out of Springfield out of like the Local Government Distributive Fund or the Motor Fuel Tax fund we will be hitting our reserves for certain.”
Niemann says if the state doesn’t release the money he expects his county will run their reserves dry by Spring.
Freeport Mayor: Lack of funds an extreme predicament
Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz says his community in northwestern Illinois typically gets upwards to $600,000 from motor fuel tax money and because of the state budget impasse they’re going to feel the pinch.
“The lack of pay over puts us in an extreme predicament this winter and next year as to how we’re going to fund projects and how we’re going to maintain our streets and for that matter how we’re going to do basic maintenance functions like plowing and patching.”
Gitz also says his community depends on other funds from the state, including money from video poker machines.
A letter template available on the IML website urges the release of money from Motor Fuel Tax, casino fees, video gaming fees, Use Tax and 9-1-1 service fees saying distributing the funds will have no impact on the state budget. There are several bills pending in the legislature to release the money during the ongoing budget impasse which is now near the five-month mark.
IML says time is of the essence for the letters to be released because of several upcoming General Assembly sessions and a planned meeting between the Governor and legislative leaders.
Illinois News Network