Balancing the state budget while maintaining the broad-based income-tax relief that began in January depends in part on reducing the amount of state tax dollars that flow to local governments.

As one of many budget solutions, Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed reducing the amount of state income-tax dollars distributed to the Local Government Distributive Fund, which provides operational funding for units of local government across the state that’s on top of the funding these governments receive from local taxpayers.

More than $634 million would still flow from Illinois taxpayers to state government to local government coffers in fiscal year 2016. By cutting this appropriation in half, more money would remain with taxpayers through lower income-tax rates.

To ease the transition for counties and municipalities, the change would be paired with greater local control over resource allocation decisions, including the pension benefits that have been steadily consuming a larger share of municipal budgets in recent years.

Paired with a property-tax freeze, this new approach could encourage greater efficiency at the local level by displacing low-priority spending. However, some local elected officials have expressed their distaste for the governor’s plan and urged its defeat.

To better measure how local voters would receive the governor’s revenue-sharing reform, Illinois Policy commissioned polls in four state legislative districts. Together, these districts offer a diverse mix of geographies and partisan representation.

In every district polled, respondents prioritized tax relief over directing more resources toward rising municipal pension costs. Further, every district expressed a belief that local governments could do a better job of eliminating waste and low-priority spending.

This indicates that voter support for Rauner’s proposed reform could be stronger than reticence from municipal officialdom would imply.

50th Senate District

State Sen. Sam McCann, R-Jacksonville, represents the 50th District of Illinois, which stretches west from Springfield to the Missouri border.

Ogden & Fry conducted a three-question survey on behalf of Illinois Policy on March 6, 2015, with 459 respondents from the 50th District. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.67%.

More than 5 out of 10 respondents prioritized income- and property-tax relief as being more important, while 3 out of 10 respondents prioritized fulfilling debt obligations to police and fire pensions.

More than 6 out of 10 voters said that local government officials in their area can do a better job of eliminating waste and low-priority spending from municipal budgets. Two out of 10 respondents didn’t know, while even fewer said that local government can’t do a better job of eliminating waste and low-priority spending.

See the full poll results for the 50th Senate District here. The associated state representatives for the area include Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, and C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville.

59th Senate District

State Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, represents the 59th District of Illinois, which covers the southern tip of Illinois.

Ogden & Fry conducted a three-question survey on behalf of Illinois Policy on March 6, 2015, with 479 respondents from the 59th District. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.57%.

Five out of 10 respondents prioritized income- and property-tax relief as being more important, while 3 out of 10 respondents prioritized fulfilling debt obligations to police and fire pensions.

Five out of 10 voters said that local government officials in their area can do a better job of eliminating waste and low-priority spending from municipal budgets. A quarter of respondents said local officials can’t do a better job of rooting out waste, while the other quarter didn’t know.

See the full poll results for the 59th Senate District here. The associated state representatives for the area include John Bradley, D-Marion, and Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg.

70th House District

State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Sycamore, represents the 70th House District of Illinois, which coversparts of Boone, DeKalb and Kane counties.

Ogden & Fry conducted a three-question survey on behalf of Illinois Policy on March 5, 2015, with 499 respondents from the 70th District. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.48%.

Over half of respondents prioritized income- and property-tax relief as being more important, while 36 percent of respondents prioritized fulfilling debt obligations to police and fire pensions.

More than 54 percent of respondents said that local government officials in their area can do a better job of eliminating waste and low-priority spending from municipal budgets. Fewer than 20 percent respondents said that local officials can’t do a better of eliminating waste and low-priority spending, while a quarter of respondents didn’t know.

See the full poll results for the 70th House District here. State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, is the associated state senator for the district.

46th House District

State Rep. Deborah Conroy, D-Villa Park, represents the 46th House District of Illinois, whichincludes Carol Stream, Glendale Heights and Villa Park in DuPage County.

Ogden & Fry conducted a three-question survey on behalf of Illinois Policy on March 5, 2015 with 483 respondents from the 46th District. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.55%.

More than 56 percent of respondents prioritized income- and property-tax relief as being more important, while 29 percent of respondents prioritized fulfilling debt obligations to police and fire pensions.

Almost 55 percent of respondents said that local government officials in their area can do a better job of eliminating waste and low-priority spending from municipal budgets. Two out of ten respondents said that local government can’t do a better of eliminating waste and low-priority spending, while a quarter of respondents didn’t know.

 Kristina Rasmussen is Executive Vice President at Illinois Policy Institute. 

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