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Peoria Mayoral Forum: candidates weigh in on higher taxes, budget cuts

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PEORIA (WEEK) - Only a month to go before the February 23 primary election, 25 News asked all five Peoria mayoral candidates on the ballot whether they would raise taxes or make cuts to balance the budget.

Here are their answers:

Rita Ali: “We have to maintain our basic services because that's what people are paying for, so I'm not for increasing taxes. Our citizens have been overtaxed. We must generate revenues, and that's where we have to be more creative. We have to think outside the box. We can't continue to cheat our residents out of basic human services."

Andres Diaz: -- "We need to really look at how we approach problems and rightsized the budget there. I'm a leader where I want to hear from the city manager and from the department heads and then go with the recommendations of our city manager or at least then have a starting point we have discussions on what the priorities are for our community and that's based on the communities feedback."

Jim Montelongo:-- "We've already raised the taxes as much as we possibly can. I haven't voted for those tax increases. I don't believe we can tax our way out of the problems we have. We have to grow our way out of it. We need to look at other growth opportunities that we have first before we go into cutting and raising taxes."

Sid Ruckriegel: -- "Our pensions by the way are one of our biggest things facing us and so we have got to take to Springfield. The real attitude that all Peorians want to be able to have the pension reform. We need to work with are other local governments to go down to Springfield together to say we need reform now. There's a way we can be able to help our budgets. that will open it to other things that we do need so we're not having to make the cuts that we have been making over the past couple of years."

Chama St. Louis: -- "I think a lot of working class families are overburden with taxes. We keep carrying the debt of poor decisions that have been made in regards to our budget. And that pressure can't be put on our residents, especially now because of the pandemic."

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