Mayors protest budget cuts

Mayors around Illinois say they understand the state’s budget situation, but warn they won’t compromise on cuts to local government funding.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed a 50 percent cut to the Local Government Distributive Fund. Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett says he and other municipal leaders will fight against any reduction.

Bennett says once they open the door to a loss of any revenue streams to local governments, it will become a reduction every year.

Bennett says he and other mayors believe Rauner is using these cuts to put extra pressure on them to back his so-called “turnaround agenda,” which includes proposals claiming to give communities more local control on issues like unionization. If that’s the governor’s strategy, Bennett says it won’t work.

According to Bennett, it certainly won’t be a quid pro quo with taking their revenue away, and that they get it, they understand it, and that most communities have not signed up for Rauner’s plan, as it should not be a dealing point with the local distributive fund.

Rauner has contended many cities can absorb the cuts thanks to millions in cash reserves. Bennett and other mayors said that’s not the case for many municipalities around the state.