By Shelby R. Farrell


MACHESNEY PARK – The state’s budget impasse has affected many of Illinois’ municipalities and now they are fighting to be heard.

Village of Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin updated the Board of Trustees and educated the public on how the state’s budget crisis has already affected the village and how it can only get worse without the state making a decision.

“This is very serious,” Bolin said. “It’s not a joke, and it’s getting to the point that we have to start standing up to it.”

The state has been in a budget lock-down for over four months. The freeze was caused when Governor Bruce Rauner brought his “turnaround agenda” to Illinois legislators in the last few days of their yearly budget meeting at the end of May, and the Democratic legislature voted it down. The main concerns from Democrats stemmed from the agendas changes to the state’s worker’s compensation system, freezing property taxes and restricting lawsuits.

Since then many state-funded programs and amenities, including 911 centers, state subsidized childcare and road maintenance, have taken financial blows that they weren’t ready for because the state can no longer fund them with a budget that hasn’t passed.

Illinois’ counties and the municipalities within them have also been affected and still wait patiently for what the state owes them. The state is supposed to reimburse the counties and municipalities for things like state law-required personnel and taxes.

Bolin said the Village of Machesney Park is owed over $129,000 for the motor fuel tax, $50,000 for the video gaming tax and $84,000 for the local-use tax. The total that the state owes the village currently is over $263,000.

“With the load on the motor fuel tax, if that goes up to a year, to the village that means between $500,000 and $600,000 of revenue,” Bolin explained. “If our local-use tax goes up to a year without a budget that will mean another $500,000 to the village.”

While a year without a set budget for the state could seriously damage Illinois’ municipalities, such as the Village of Machesney Park, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie warned that the state might not even make it that long without going bankrupt.

She told the Associated Press the state’s main focus should be on the budget before it “goes totally broke come February or March.” In an attempt to avoid this financial disaster, Bolin called the state’s residents to action and asked them to make their voices heard by the government.

“I would encourage anybody in the state of Illinois where ever you live to call your representatives, to call your state senators,” he said. “Send a message to the governor. This is getting serious.”

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