While several municipal leaders have voted against adopting any of Governor Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury is asking the Board of Trustees to support some, if not all, of the Rauner Agenda.
According to sources within the Village of Oak Lawn, Bury has asked Trustees to support a board resolution stating that the Village supports some facets of the Rauner plan, including amending collective bargaining rights for union workers and changing the worker’s compensation laws in Illinois for injured workers. In a memo to Trustees, Bury also asks for support for the idea of the state taking action on public employee pensions. That provision may be irrelevant in light of the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling Friday that public pensions cannot be altered.
Bury claimed that her support for at least part of the Rauner agenda came as a result of a meeting between her, the Governor and Village Manager Larry Deetjen in Springfield. Deetjen and Bury traveled to Springfield recently for the Illinois Municipal Lobby Day.
While Bury is asking for support for some of Rauner’s agenda, other municipalities throughout the State are reacting negatively to the proposals. Protectmytown.com is a partnership of villages and cities in Illinois that was formed to fight Rauner’s proposal to reduce the municipal share of the local government distributive fund that is divided among municipalities from the Illinois Income Tax. The website states, in part:
“Local services are in jeopardy. $1.5 billion in revenue that Illinois municipalities rely upon to provide essential services such as police and fire protection, snow plowing, garbage pickup, road repairs and programs for seniors and children.
Service cuts and tax hikes. The proposed 50% cut in this funding will result in losses of millions of dollars for many municipalities, causing a drastic reduction in operating revenue. Municipal officials are committed to fighting against higher property taxes, painful cuts in front-line services, police and fire layoffs and delays to needed infrastructure repairs in your town.
Hold Springfield accountable. Municipalities have been fiscally responsible throughout the recession—cutting services, reducing personnel and dramatically decreasing spending to balance their budgets every year and doing more with less. Now it’s time Springfield does the same.
We need your help. Don’t let Springfield shift the tax burden onto you!”
At last count, only 27 municipalities in Illinois have supported Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda resolution, which was pre-printed and sent to every municipality for passage. A resoultion that is supported at the local level is nonbinding. Any changes to union rights, contractor pay or bargaining rights would have to be made through a change in state law and perhaps, a change in individual collectively bargained contracts.
Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland, who supported Rauner’s election, recently told the Daily Southtown that he would not even bring the resolution to his board for consideration.
Statewide union leaders have also been against the proposed resolution. SEIU Local 73, which represents 28,000 public service employees, published its opposition on its website, stating, “This agenda will do nothing but put Illinois in a bigger hole with working families suffering the impact of Rauner’s illogical budget cuts. Rauner’s agenda also includes supporting right-to-work: an attempt to eliminate unions and lower wages for working families. If right-to-work was passed in Illinois, it would result in:
- Lower wages
- Increased unemployment
- Reduce worker benefits
- Increased gender and racial inequality”.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen previously raised the issue to Trustees and the Mayor to support some or all of the Rauner Turnaround Agenda.
View the revised Rauner Turnaround Agenda sent by Sandra Bury to the Board of Trustees: