APRIL 27, 2015
Protect My Town

ProtectMyTown.com launches to empower Illinois residents
Mayors statewide urge residents to oppose cuts in local funding

Heading into the final weeks of the General Assembly’s legislative session, Illinois mayors and municipal groups throughout Illinois launched a statewide movement today aimed at activating Illinois residents to voice their opposition to proposed state cuts in local revenue.

The new website and social media platform – ProtectMyTown.com – enables Illinoisans to directly engage their state legislators as well as Gov. Bruce Rauner and urge them to resist attempts to use local revenue – the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) – to fill state budget gaps and shift the tax burden on to local communities and taxpayers.

“ProtectMyTown.com serves as a direct communication vehicle that gives residents across the state the ability to make their voices heard on this important issue and understand how it impacts their daily lives,” said Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, who serves as President of the DMMC, noting that the proposed reduction would create a loss of more than $2.4 million, which is equivalent to 20 percent of the Village’s total property tax levy. “It only takes 30 seconds to send a note to your state legislators and the Governor to protect these funds.”

After logging on to ProtectMyTown.com, it only takes three easy steps to directly contact your legislator and the Governor: 1) Review your letter; 2) Fill out your information; and 3) Hit the Take Action button to complete the form. Residents can also forward and share the site through Facebook and Twitter, encouraging their friends, family and followers to join the movement as well.

At stake is $1.2 billion, generated by local residents and collected by the state before being distributed back to municipalities, where it belongs. The LGDF accounts for anywhere between 10 to 15 percent of a municipality’s operating budgets and is allocated for essential services, such as police and fire, road repairs and maintenance, garbage collection and snowplowing. Proposals have called for the state to take half of the annual amount, or more than $600 million.

“Most Illinois residents have no idea the role that the Local Government Distributive Fund plays, but reducing our local share would result in significant local budget holes, ensuring that taxpayers pay more and get less in return,” said Evanston Mayor and Northwest Municipal Conference President Elizabeth Tisdahl, arguing the LGDF reduction would create a loss of more than $3.7 million, which is equivalent to 9.5 percent of the city’s total property tax levy in Evanston. “Cutting our revenue will not solve the problem but will just merely pass the financial burden directly onto our residents.”

“If the LGDF is reduced by 50 percent, local governments will be forced to make up the difference by cutting front-line services, raising property taxes, delaying needed projects and repairs, or laying off workers, including police officers and firefighters,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, noting that the proposed reduction would result in a $9.8 million loss, or about $50 per resident. “That’s why it’s critical that local residents understand the implications of the proposed cuts.” 

Ensuring that Local Tax Dollars Stay in Our Communities
with Downers Grove Mayor Martin T. Tully, President of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference

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