Casten, Local Leaders Across IL-06 Urge Congressional Leadership to Ensure Equitable Funding in Next COVID-19 Package
Downers Grove, IL – Today, U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) led a bipartisan letter with 41 Illinois 6th District Mayors, Village Presidents, and County Board Chairs to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging equitable per-capita distribution of funds to states in the next coronavirus emergency relief package.
High population states like Illinois are left at a disadvantage when it comes to federal spending. This inequality was perpetuated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third package in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic that incorporated a very inequitable spending formula for emergency grants to states and municipalities. Citizens in states with populations above 3.5 million received, on average just $390 per capita, while citizens of less populous states received as much as $2100 per person – over five times larger.
It’s projected that the economic fall-out of COVID19 will cause Illinois’ revenue to drop by $2.7 billion this year and $4.6 billion next year. Specifically in the 6th District, DuPage County is expected to lose between $500,000 to $1.5M in revenue each week.
In April, Casten and Representative Bill Foster (IL-11) led a bipartisan letter with 50 House members to House leadership on equal distribution per-capita.
The letter said, in part, “At a time when we are all in this together, it is important that emergency aid flow equally to all citizens no matter where they live. An equal per capita distribution of funds is the only way to ensure that all states and territories have an equal fighting chance at rebuilding after this pandemic. As leaders of the “People’s House,” where citizens are equally represented no matter what state they live in, we urge you to insist on a truly fair, equal per-capita distribution of funds to all states, territories, and districts. We further urge you that this correction be retroactive, and that the fundamental principle of equal per-capita distribution of relief be applied to all programs in this and future coronavirus response packages.”
The bipartisan letter was signed by Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart; McHenry County Board Chair Jack D. Franks; Algonquin Village President John Schmitt; Barrington Village President Karen Darch; Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley; Darien Mayor Joseph A. Marchese; Deer Park Village President Dale Sands; Downers Grove Mayor Bob Barnett; East Dundee Village President Lael Miller; Elgin Mayor David Kaptain; Fox River Grove Village President Robert Nunamaker; Glen Ellyn Village President Diane McGinley; Hawthorn Woods Mayor Dominick DiMaggio; Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod; Kildeer Village President Nandia Black; Lake Barrington Village President Kevin Richardson; Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton; Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio; Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob; Oak Brook Village President Gopal Lalmalani; Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz; Port Barrington Village President Shannon Yeaton; Sleepy Hollow Village President Stephen Pickett; South Elgin Village President Steve Ward; St. Charles Mayor Raymond Rogina; Tower Lakes Village President David Parro, Warrenville Mayor David Brummel; Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps; Westmont Mayor Ron Gunter; Wheaton Mayor Philip Suess; Willowbrook Mayor Frank Trilla; Winfield Mayor Erik Spande; Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico; Oakbrook Terrace Acting Mayor Paul Esposito; Hanover Park Village President Rodney Craig; Hinsdale Village President Thomas Cauley; Inverness Mayor John A. “Jack” Tatooles; Lake in the Hills Village President Russ Ruzanksi.
A copy of the letter is available here or below.
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer:
Together with the undersigned mayors and county officials in the 6th Congressional District of Illinois, we urge you to provide desperately needed funding for local governments, regardless of population size, in the next emergency coronavirus package.
Federal spending programs have long disadvantaged high-population states like Illinois. Those biases result from the structure of the Senate, but were magnified in the recent CARES Act; Citizens in states with populations above 3.5 million received, on average just $390 per capita, while citizens of less populous states received as much as $2100 per person – over five times larger. Many of us representing constituents at all levels in states with populations over 3.5 million are finding this discrepancy very hard to justify. Our local governments should at least receive proportionately the same level of relief. Moreover, by ensuring we have the resources to move quickly and stop future outbreaks, we will make all parts of the country safer.
The municipalities and counties in my district are also concerned that they will be unable to continue providing critical services to our residents without targeted stabilization funding. Our counties and towns have been asked to rapidly activate and expand emergency services, transition to telework to ensure continuity, pay overtime and hazard compensation to first responders, pay for personal protective equipment, and incur many other unexpected costs in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As local leaders we are on the front lines of this crisis, providing food and shelter, taking care of seniors and other vulnerable populations, operating emergency response centers, and other essential municipal and county functions.
Not only have municipalities and counties incurred greater expenses, but the social distancing required to contain the spread and the need to comply with Illinois’ stay-at-home order has also contributed, and will continue to contribute, to a precipitous decline in municipal revenue streams, including but not limited to sales taxes, property taxes, court fees, parking fees, energy tax receipts, UCC fees, and hotel occupancy fees. Our local leaders do not want to be forced to slash essential services, such as police and fire departments, nor can we raise taxes on already overburdened residents. We cannot rely on our state government, which is facing similar revenue shortfalls and increased expenses, to pass along adequate federal relief funds to municipal and county governments. For instance, DuPage County, which is in the heart of our district, is expected to lose between $500,000 to $1.5M in revenue each week. Only the federal government has the capacity to help states and local governments of all sizes on an equitable basis.
At a time when we are all in this together, it is important that emergency aid flow equally to all citizens no matter where they live. An equal per capita distribution of funds is the only way to ensure that all states and territories have an equal fighting chance at rebuilding after this pandemic. As leaders of the “People’s House”, where citizens are equally represented no matter what state they live in, we urge you to insist on a truly fair, equal per-capita distribution of funds to all states, territories, and districts. We further urge you that this correction be retroactive, and that the fundamental principle of equal per-capita distribution of relief be applied to all programs in this and future coronavirus response packages.
Attached for your consideration are some individual testimonies from Mayors and County Board Chairs from Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, detailing the unique burdens that managing a responsible COVID-19 response has placed on their budgets. We thank you for your attention, and as you begin work on the fourth COVID-19 stimulus and recovery package, we urge you to ensure an equitable and equal per-capita distribution of funds to states so that all Americans can benefit equally no matter where they live.