To the Editor:
The HEADLINE in the Belleville News Democrat today (March 30) says it all—Proposed Cuts “Going to Hurt.”
The story details how the State of Illinois is cutting local government’s share of the state income tax in half in order to balance the state fiscal crisis created by decades of Democrat Governors who only knew how to tax and spend.
What does this mean to O’Fallon residents? It means the city will be faced with their own budget cuts or raising taxes to offset these cuts by the State of Illinois. This is why residents need to turn out Tuesday, April 7, to vote YES TWICE on the referendums that ask if the city of O’Fallon should consider a lease of the operations of the water system.
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This lease could raise over $50 million in non-tax revenue to help pay for needed improvements to our city. Currently the money in our water bills cannot be used for anything other than the operations of the water system. A lease would allow the city to use funds generated for critical projects to the city. This may be very important as the state of Illinois cuts our share of the Illinois income tax.
The alternative will be increased taxes. The city has already stated that property taxes could be increased as much as $395 a year on a house worth $150,000 or our sales tax could increase 25 percent in order to raise the necessary funds to pay for infrastructure improvements. Now with the state cutting funds to local governments, those taxes could increase.
Why take the risk? O’Fallon should be looking at all ways to raise non-tax revenue to keep our city running. A lease would provide new money and the city still retains ownership of the system, which means it controls rates and quality of service. Don’t risk more taxes O’Fallon—vote YES twice April 7.