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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.

Senate overrides governor’s veto of Raoul worker protection bill

Sen. Kwame Raoul

SPRINGFIELD —  The Senate voted today to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of legislation sponsored by State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) that gives the Attorney General greater ability to enforce employment laws.

Currently, the Attorney General can file suit under the state’s employment laws with a referral from the Department of Labor. This legislation removes that requirement and empowers the Attorney General to bring suits related to violations of laws like the Prevailing Wage Act, the Minimum Wage Act and the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.

“We know there are workers who are getting their hard-earned wages taken from them by employers and having their rights violated in other ways,” Raoul said. “Valid claims should not get lost in bureaucratic red tape. It makes no sense to have laws on the book to protect workers if we don’t enforce them.