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Watchdog Criticizes Local Government Spending

Story by WBGZ Radio

A Peoria city councilwoman wants to impose a new city vehicle fee. Bloomington and Normal want to raise sewer fees. And Tazewell County is just one of many looking at property tax increases. 

Cities and counties across the state of Illinois are looking at tax or fee increases to balance their next budgets. But one tax watchdog group says local leaders are forgetting one important thing: spending.  

Almost all of the local governments across Illinois that are looking to raise taxes or fees in the next budgets say it's because of pension costs or that the state of Illinois is keeping some local tax dollars.

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But Andrew Nelms, the state director of Americans for Prosperity in Illinois, said local governments should be looking at reducing spending. 

"Local governments in Illinois are collecting unprecedented amounts of money from Illinois taxpayers," Nelms said Monday.

Nelms said local governments always have a reason they say they need to raise taxes, but most of those reasons are expenses that governments should have planned for years ago. 

"These are not unforeseen expenses," Nelms explained. "Oftentimes local governments treat foreseeable expenses as some sort of emergency that fell out of the sky."

Just last week, leaders in Marshall County proposed a nearly 13 percent property tax increase, at least $250,000 next year alone, to pay for pensions for the county's elected officials. 

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)









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