2013 Legislative Program
Conference Sets 2013 Legislative Agenda
Over 130 federal and state legislators and local government officials joined together on Saturday, January 26 in Hoffman Estates as the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) introduced its 2013 NWMC Legislative Program. The 2013 Program sets the organization’s federal and state legislative agenda to promote strong local communities as the economic backbone of Illinois.
“Every single one of us in this room shares a mutual interest in ensuring that Illinois prospers. The continuous budget crises that have plagued our state and local governments since the economic downturn has forced all of us to go through considerable pain as we craft budgets that are both balanced and take care of the needs of our mutual constituents,” stated NWMC President and Hoffman Estates Mayor William D. McLeod in his opening remarks. “We believe that as local government leaders we can play a crucial role in helping address our mutual challenges.”
The 2013 NWMC Legislative Program focuses upon protecting taxpayer interests and ensuring the fiscal stability of communities while outlining solutions to the challenges faced by local governments.
“The state’s budget crisis is a serious threat to our ability to operate our communities and attract economic development. As we’ve experienced, local government revenues are too often looked upon as a means to alleviate the state’s fiscal shortcomings. Our communities depend on our share of state collected revenues,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, co-chair of the NWMC Legislative Committee. “Cutting these revenues will basically send many cities and villages into a death spiral that will result in us being less attractive in the global economy.”
After a decade of exploding pension costs that has taken a severe toll on taxpayers and the local services they expect, the need for including public safety pensions in proposed statewide pension reform legislation was front and center during the discussion.
“I would like to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, this situation will soon get worse, not better,” said Wilmette Village President Christopher Canning, who described legislative and administrative changes that will further increase the pension burden on taxpayers. “These changes will result in even higher contributions by municipalities. For struggling municipalities, especially those without the home rule powers to raise local revenues, this could drive them to either cease the delivery of essential services or go into bankruptcy.”
The 2013 NWMC Legislative Program outlines five specific legislative needs to strengthen our communities, including:
· Avoid shifting the state’s financial burden on to local taxpayers;
· Right-size public safety pensions;
· End abuse of protections for catastrophically injured public safety personnel;
· Restore sanity to the cost of public works projects; and,
· Generate sustainable transportation funding.