Metropolis, IL

Opinion

Funding A Safe Commute

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Updated: 8:56 AM
Susan Odum
On Feb. 2, we will know whether the Groundhog saw his shadow suggesting either an early spring or six more weeks of winter. Either way, the weather forecast for the coming weeks here in the Midwest could very easily include: freezing rain; ice, or snow.  When faced with the prospect of hazardous driving conditions, we all rely heavily on our municipal, county, and state highway departments to ensure we have a safe commute.  
Therefore, there is no better time to remind the residents of Illinois that Spending Locally First ensures the highway departments will be able to keep the roads in good working order this winter.
The State of Illinois, and many or our municipalities and counties, especially those in the rural regions of the State, are experiencing unprecedented fiscal challenges.  Stagnant or declining revenue streams as a result of buying patterns that no longer support local businesses, which generate tax revenues and provide local jobs, are plaguing our rural regions.  This new reality is placing increased pressure on local governments and other taxing districts to provide essential services, such as road maintenance.  The resulting dilemma for local governments is to identify new ways to balance the budget.  This can mean increasing revenues (i.e. raising taxes), cutting expenses, or a combination of the two.  Either way, rural residents lose, as they either pay higher taxes and/or have fewer services available.    
Therefore, in the simplest of terms, the more money we spend locally and within our State, the more tax dollars we will generate to support our state, county, and municipal budgets, resulting in more resources to fund the highway departments that keep our roads in good working order.   
Certainly, there may be “perceived” lower cost alternatives available, online, or perhaps, just across the border in a neighboring state, but the reality is when you purchase items and pay sales or motor fuel taxes out of state, you are supporting their state, county, and municipal budgets, not ours.    
In a nut shell, if essential public services, such as road maintenance, are important to you, then shopping local should be important to you, because it provides the resources needed for maintenance efforts to occur. 

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