Regionally, the current tax system does not always support the multijurisdictional nature of many industrial and office employment areas, which often cluster geographically and cross jurisdictional lines. The infrastructure that serves these centers can extend through many communities and is maintained by a complex web of jurisdictions. The region’s municipalities need additional tax structure and transportation funding options to support the service and infrastructure needs of these locally and regionally desired land uses. Additionally, the growing prevalence of internet sales may increase truck traffic on the entire roadway system, including roads serving warehousing and distribution businesses, and residential customers receiving deliveries.
Tax policies have a broad impact on the ability of local jurisdictions to provide services and keep infrastructure in a state of good repair. Individual municipal revenues depend on land use mix, size of the tax base, and state and local tax structure. Local policies on and willingness to match fees and taxes to service costs also play a role. For example, DuPage County consistently implements user fees such as development impact fees and a county-wide MFT. Costs grow from a combination of interrelated factors: locally defined needs, the amount and condition of infrastructure, and long-term debt and obligations.
Local governments do have options to better support their communities through local action, particularly through imposing user fees to support specific services and infrastructure. Since 2013, for example, Downers Grove has generated revenue for stormwater improvements by imposing a fee weighted toward properties that have the greatest impact on that system.
ON TO 2050 sets a target for reducing the number of municipalities that receive comparatively low levels of state revenues. State statutory criteria for revenue disbursements, like sales or motor fuel taxes, can create wide divergence in revenues among municipalities. State criteria to distribute funds to local governments vary from population, to retail sales, to lane miles, to other factors. These criteria do not take into account municipalities that may have a very low tax base compared to costs for basic services, nor do they account for infrastructure condition. In addition, the state’s own financial situation has caused local governments to experience reduced funding and increased uncertainty. Consistently provided state funds, such as the Local Government Distributive Fund, play a crucial role in local government budgets, but the State has not modernized its tax system nor developed a long-term plan to pay for its obligations. The following map illustrates the differences in state revenues distributed to municipalities in 2015. ON TO 2050 envisions that all municipalities will receive these state funds at levels greater than 80 percent of the regional median level by 2050.