The following was written by State Senator Dan Duffy concerning a clone of the bill enacted at DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin’s request. House Bill 229, sponsored in the Illinois House by State Rep. Jack Franks, it allows McHenry and Lake County Boards to eliminate certain local governments:
Topsy-turvy McHenry County Representation
As a small business owner who is now serving as a Republican State Senator,
I still get baffled by the political games that are played in Springfield.
Lately, it has become difficult to differentiate between McHenry County Republicans and Democrats.
Let me explain. Illinois is in a financial tailspin.
When Governor Rauner took office in January he inherited a state with the highest debt and lowest credit rating in America.
Over a decade of reckless spending by the Democratic leaders in Springfield have put us on the verge of bankruptcy.
Illinois has nearly 7000 units of government, the most layers of government in the nation.
We pay for all of these layers of government through our sky high property taxes.
In an effort to lower our property taxes and cut government spending, Governor Rauner walked into office and immediately signed an executive order forming a Local Government Consolidation Task Force. I was honored to be appointed to this task force along with Representative Jack Franks (D).
Rep. Franks embraced the governor’s mission and filed House Bill 229 (HB 229).
His bill would allow McHenry County to eliminate certain units of excessive government.
The bill was written to directly mirror former Republican State Senator and current DuPage County Chairman, Dan Cronin’s, legislation that will save millions by successfully consolidating many layers of government in DuPage County.
Franks worked tirelessly with Republicans in a bipartisan way to help get his bill passed in the House. [All state representatives with any part of McHenry County voted in favor, except Mike Tryon.]
Once his bill was passed, it was immediately sent over to the Senate.
The bill must also pass in the Senate before the governor can sign the bill into law.
This is where the confusion begins. Rep. Franks’ good government bill, that was originally written by a Republican and directly reflects Governor Rauner’s agenda, came over to the Senate in April.
In the Senate, Pam Althoff (R) quickly maneuvered to sign on as the chief sponsor of the bill and I signed on as a co-sponsor.
As chief sponsor of the legislation according to Senate rules, Althoff is responsible for the bill.
She has the exclusive authority to advance the bill.
Instead of moving the legislation along for a vote, Althoff is instead attempting to alter or kill the bill.
Her efforts to water down Franks’ bill and exclude some of McHenry County’s most wasteful units of government from being consolidated is baffling.
McHenry County career politician, Sen. Althoff’s, top priority should be to cut wasteful government spending and lower our property taxes – NOT try to protect her friends’ cushy government jobs.
I may be wrong, but Sen. Althoff needs to explain her actions.
I think it would be a good idea if McHenry County residents ask Senator Althoff what her plan for HB 229 really is.
I am in my second term in the State Senate and have learned that things are not always what they appear to be in Springfield.
Behind the scenes political maneuvers and secret deals are completed on a daily basis down in the state Capitol.
I think it is important to communicate with constituents by all means possible and appreciate this opportunity to share my concerns about HB 229 with you.
I did not run for office to make political friends.
I ran for office to encourage job growth, fight corruption and keep taxes low. Those are my top priorities and as long as I serve in the Senate, I will continue to focus on those priorities.
= = = = =
There are two tax districts which were created by voter referendum that might be affected by this legislation:
McHenry County Conservation District
McHenry County 708 Mental Health Board
Both have boards appointed by the McHenry County Board.
Putting them directly under the McHenry County Board would add much power to that level of government.
- The Conservation District spent $22.1 million in Fiscal 2014.
- The Mental Health Board spent $9.75 million for the same Fiscal Year.
The only impact of Franks’ last consolidation bill was to allow the Nunda and Richmond Township Cemetery Districts to be absorbed by their townships.