Without sustainable funding sources, Illinois will lack basics next year: Metropolitan Planning Council - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Without sustainable funding sources, Illinois will lack basics next year: Metropolitan Planning Council

Chicago-based planning group urges action on structural reforms tied to a regional sales tax increase to fund Chicago-area transit operating needs, and a statewide income tax increase for Illinois public schools

(Chicago) … As the state budget debate persists, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) urges lawmakers to reject cosmetic funding fixes and choose sustainable revenue sources to meet basic local and statewide needs: public transportation, key to metropolitan Chicago’s economic well being, would be stabilized by an increase in the regional sales tax to fund operating expenses; and a state income tax increase would support Illinois public schools for the long term. Complimentary reforms to ensure that new resources are used wisely also are pending action by the General Assembly.

“It would be foolish to roll the dice when it comes to funding our most basic needs. Gaming revenues are not a sure bet,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett . “We cannot afford the possibility of our transit system shutting down or our schools not being able to afford to prepare our children for the future workforce. We must identify long-term funding sources for these essentials.”

If lawmakers instead rubber-stamp quick funding fixes, Illinois will lack the same basics next year and the year after next. “Gaming may seem like a way out this year, but we’ll be faced with the same unmet needs in a matter of months,” she said.

Barrett added that a modest regional sales tax increase – the first since 1983 – is a logical tax to fund operating expenses for the region’s public transportation system; and that raising the state income tax to fund public schools – while protecting low-income families – is the most progressive solution.

“Sustainable, appropriate solutions are on the table,” said Barrett. “We urge the governor and state lawmakers to pass a budget based on sound policies that stand the test of time.”

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