Winnebago County Board passes resolution opposing potential state-imposed tax reduction

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 9:29 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County could lose up to half a million dollars in funding after Governor JB Pritzker proposes a plan to help balance the state’s budget.

“The state is looking to manage their budget problems by cutting funding to local government,” Winnebago County Board Member Paul Arena said.

A significant budget concern could face Winnebago County Board members and the citizens who call the region home.

“It just puts another burden on us we have to try to decide where we’re gonna have to make up that gap,” Winnebago County Board Member Jaime Salgado said.

Each year the state contributes a percentage of income tax revenue to the local government distributive fund benefiting counties across Illinois, but this year Gov. Pritzker is proposing a 10% reduction in what each county receives.

“The amount of reduction we would see if this were to pass would be over $580,000,” Arena said.

If passed the potential deficit could push the board to make tough decisions including a cut in spending or an increase in already high property taxes.

“We have a nursing home and the law does not require us to have what I think is a valuable asset to the community. We provide animal services that are more expansive than what state law requires us to provide,” Arena said. “The county doesn’t have a lot of room to significantly raise property taxes.”

The board passed a resolution opposing the governor’s reduction proposal, sending a loud message showing just how valuable that funding is.

“I can tell you that from a county standpoint we were very bare-bones so it definitely would put a detriment to any type of service that we have out there, but as a last resort is the personnel piece that we would not obviously want to touch at all,” Salgado said.

The County did receive a $54 million payment, it comes from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed, but the way the county can use the funds is still unknown.

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