IML unveils legislative platform designed to strengthen state's infrastructure
Members of the Illinois Municipal League (IML) held a press conference Monday to announce the Moving Cities Forward legislative platform.
Executive Director Brad Cole said IML has worked for the benefit of the state’s 1,298 cities, villages and towns since 1913.
"We are happy to be here today to unveil the Moving Cities Forward platform," Cole said. "IML collaborates with state lawmakers on a daily basis to find solutions and to attract and retain businesses, which in turn create jobs and improve our economy."
Cole said Illinois needs a strong and stable infrastructure.
"We owe it to residents to invest in past-due repairs and make our state a safe place to live, work and learn," Cole said. "By investing in our state’ s infrastructure now, we can reverse the damage done by underfunding. New investments in roads are also long overdue."
Cole said IML is prepared to partner with state government regarding these issues.
"We have to see reform now," Cole said. "We can’t continue to wait."
Macomb Mayor Mike Inman said no two municipalities are the same.
"The platform allows us to solve problems with our communities and the number one issue is the state’s long-term cost of 650 downstate public safety pension funds," Inman said. "We've put together seven proposals that achieve varying levels of reform — critical relief for taxpayers, but so that those who were promised pensions receive those pensions."
Inman said progress is being made thanks to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his task force.
"IML is encouraged by this," Inman said. "We're looking forward to working as a partner."
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham Jr. said the financial well-being of Illinois' cities is crucial.
"Returning the local share of income tax to its original 10 percent level is important," Rockingham said. "From its adoption in 1970 until 2011, local governments received 10 percent of all income tax collected by the state, but since 2011, the state has routinely reduced the amount local governments receive."
Rockingham said this year local governments are only receiving 5.75 percent of the state’s individual income tax collection and only 6.5 percent of corporate state income tax.
"These revenue reductions, coupled with increasing unfunded mandates, have only added financial constraints municipalities face," Rockingham said. "Lawmakers in both houses and both parties have proposed to return the local share to the original 10 percent. Returning to 10 percent will better prepare municipalities to provide safety and welfare to our residents."
Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman said Cairo is looking for assistance in the area of infrastructure.
"We’re a community that survives off flood walls, levees and pumps," Coleman said. "Our pumps have been in-house for over 50 years and we have been and continue to be in search of funding for new pumps."
Coleman said they only have one pump station.
"Infrastructure funding is definitely a resource we need down in Cairo," Coleman said.