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Mayors: Rauner’s cut to municipalities increases likelihood of property tax increase

Municipal leaders at a joint panel of the Senate’s two budget committees

Municipal leaders today told a joint panel of the Senate’s two budget committees that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to strip $131 million from Illinois communities could lead to service cuts, job layoffs and possible local tax increases.

Decatur Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe said her aging central Illinois town has few options for replacing the nearly $1 million lost under the Rauner takeaway. There’s an economic impact, too, she said. For example, recent droughts forced the city to temporarily close car wash operators, and a major manufacturer risked a plant shutdown because the water supply was at severe risk.

State cutbacks also force new fees, such as the one Decatur taxpayers pay to help fund a $90 million lake dredging project. And, Moore-Wolfe added, aging sewers need to be replaced because of government mandates, so water fees were raised to pay for the $76 million effort.

Despite Decatur’s can-do approach, another year without the $1 million the town of nearly 73,000 needs, austere cutbacks are likely.