Since July 1st, the state of Illinois has been working on the budget impasse, with seemingly no plan in sight. Officials are trying to find a way to come up with tax revenues to cover the deficit, even discussing online gambling options. In the meantime, cities and small towns in the state are suffering as they are not receiving the tax revenues as they normally do. From motor fuel taxes, emergency telephone systems to gambling tax revenues, the state municipalities are suffering.
Elgin, Des Plaines and Aurora are considered casino towns in the state of Illinois and these towns are suffering greatly due to the budget issues. Without having access to gambling tax revenues, money is not available to fund projects such as social services, road projects or developments.
The budgeting process for 2016 is in the works and the fiscal year would start on the 1st of January, which is only a few weeks away. These cities that are crunching the numbers, will now have to prioritize certain projects, shift the expense budgets and maybe even dip into the reserves due to the budget impasse.
Sean Stegall, the Elgin City Manager, stated in a DailyHerald.com report that at some point, officials thought that governance, common sense and stewardship would take over. But apparently that is not the case.
In Elgin, the town is supposed to receive revenues from the Grand Victoria Casino. The revenues of this casino were estimated at $10.1 million for the year. $2.5 million of this amount has been held since the month of July. This amount would increase to $5 million by the end of the year if nothing were to change.
Due to the budget issues, street work will suffer the brunt of the impact with the withholding of tax funds. Elgin had to cancel a special budget meeting for October and a proposed budget meeting has been schedule for the 4th of November. Any debt payments that were planned with the riverboat fun will be made. But difficult decisions will then have to be made on the neighborhood grants and social services.
Des Plaines was set to earn money from the Rivers Casino and use $8 million towards capital projects in 2016. This would include the reconstruction of streets and more. Local casino revenues in the area were over $24 million this year, with Des Plaines agreeing to pay the first $10 million to the state with additional monies going to local communities.
Hollywood Casino provides revenues to Aurora, with over $1.7 million to be paid into social services, education, etc via the Invest Aurora program which is just one way the gaming revenues are used in this area of the state. Already, $1.7 million has been withheld from Aurora with $3.5 million to be withheld by the end of the year if no decision is made with the budget impasse.