Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis once again used his annual State of the City Address to implore the state legislature to develop a plan for pension reform. The state sets the pension benefit levels the fire and police retirees receive, but the city is responsible for paying those benefits. The mayor told the audience that in the next two years, the city will have to use all its property tax collections to pay just the pension liability.
“This mess was created in Springfield and Springfield needs to figure out how to reform it. It’s unsustainable.” Ardis said.
Ardis also used Wednesday’s address to highlight how the convenience of shopping from home on the internet is taking tax income away from the city of Peoria. That loss of income is harming the city’s ability to deliver services.
“The loss of local sales taxes attributed to internet sales, these are our dollars, our local dollars attributed to internet sales, is $4 million a year. And these are dollars we need to provide police and fire protection, to keep maintaining our roads and operate our city.” Ardis said.
For every $100 spent locally, the city receives $2.75 in sales tax. For every dollar spent by a Peorian on the internet, the city gets less than a penny. The mayor suggested citizens remember to buy local first before turning to the web.
The mayor made his comments Wednesday before about 600 people at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Peoria Civic Center.