State Legislative Program

The Northwest Municipal Conference stands ready to partner with state lawmakers to address the issues that are important to our shared constituents to help us accomplish the following:

Restore the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) to 10%

The NWMC is grateful and encouraged that the General Assembly has taken important steps to partially restore the 10% local share of the state income tax in the last two budget cycles. Looking forward, a fully restored LGDF will provide the fiscal resources necessary to mitigate municipal property tax increases and provide critical services for our communities. Communities are and will continue to expend resources to implement state-initiated priorities like police body cameras and lead service line replacement. In 2024, state lawmakers should continue the effort to restore the LGDF to 10% of state income taxes. With these resources, communities will be better equipped to address public safety, infrastructure investment and legacy pension costs.

Protect Public Safety Pensions for Sustainable Communities

Following the Great Recession, state lawmakers took significant steps to strengthen and stabilize the public safety pension system by implementing Tier 2 pension benefits in 2010 and consolidating investments in 2019. Unfortunately, the public safety unions want to rollback these critical actions. Any effort to enhance Tier 2 pensions and/or reinstate Tier 1 pension benefits would have a destabilizing effect on local government finances and the health of the public safety pension system. The NWMC supports the protection of Tier 2 benefits because:
· NWMC public safety pensions are now still funded at just over 60 percent. While improving, the pension system is not in a fiscal position to consider costly benefit increases that will be borne by local taxpayers.
· Safe harbor concerns were addressed for police and fire pensions in the 2019 consolidation legislation, and any enhancements will build pressure to increase property taxes.
· Ultimately, Tier 2 provides new public safety personnel with a secure and stable retirement that is constitutionally protected and should be maintained.
In addition to maintaining current Tier 2 benefits, some communities need fiscal flexibility of an extended deadline to meet statutorily established funding goals. Extending the funding deadline beyond 2040 will provide municipalities the ability to responsibly stabilize local budgets.

Support the Effective Implementation of Critical State Priorities

Paid Leave for All Workers Act: The Act went into effect on January 1, and will have a significant impact on local government operations and collective bargaining. The NWMC appreciates that the intent of the legislation is to establish a minimum paid leave standard; however, the bill goes too far in limiting managerial control, which could threaten the provision of critical government services. The NWMC respectfully requests that the Illinois General Assembly amend the Paid Leave for All Workers Act to exempt additional public bodies in order to ensure compatibility with safe and efficient local government operations. Exemptions of local governments from the Act will ensure the continued and predictable provision of critical government services.
Lead Service Line Replacement: As municipalities continue to work under the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, the NWMC urges state lawmakers to continue seeking creative solutions and funding opportunities to address this massive infrastructure investment. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has dedicated over $100 million to funding lead service line inventories and loan forgiveness. For those communities that have not accessed these funds, state lawmakers should consider ways for any local governments to access revenues and pursue cost effective projects.