Governor Amendatorily Vetoes Abolition of McHenry County Townships by Referendum Bill Killing Vote This Year

Guaranteeing that no referendum will be on the ballot to abolish any township in McHenry County this spring is an amendatory veto of State Rep. David McSweeney’s House Bill 4637.

The General Assembly which could address the veto has already adjourned.

The message from Governor Bruce Rauner was filed with the Secretary of State’s INdex Division at 3:20 this afternoon.

His basic argument is that incremental change is bad.

To put it the words of the Governor who made consolidation of governments a major part of his rhetoric:

“While I applaud the effort to create a clear process that aligns with the Illinois Constitution’s vision that townships may be dissolved if approved by referendum, this is a process that should be available with equal clarity across the state.”

Bill sponsor McSweeney had this reaction:

“Failed Governor and hypocrite Bruce Rauner showed his true colors again by vetoing my bill that would consolidate unnecessary levels of government and cut property taxes.

Bruce Rauner and David McSweeney at Irene Napier’s Pro-Life Pig Roast in 2013 where Rauner was courting conservatives.

“The people of Illinois rejected phony, incompetent Raunerism in a landslide.

“Bruce Rauner leaves office with zero accomplishments and is widely regarded as the worst Governor in the history of Illinois.

“Good riddance to Rauner and his endless stream of lies! I look forward to passing my bill again during this General Assembly.”

State Senator Craig Wilcox sent the following press release:

Gov. amendatorily vetoes government consolidation bill

Springfield, IL… State Senator Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) applauded Gov. Rauner for taking amendatory veto action on House Bill 4637—a measure that would have allowed for the abolishment of townships in McHenry County, but could leave taxpayers potentially subject to debt transfers or abuse of liquidating assets for county-wide motives.

The amendatory veto would apply the bill statewide and not just to McHenry County.

Since HB 4637 was passed by the 100th General Assembly, which concluded its work on Jan. 9, the bill is effectively dead under this amendatory veto.

A new consolidation bill could be introduced in the new 101st General Assembly, which also began its work on Jan. 9.

Craig Wilcox

“While I am a supporter of government consolidation, I’m more strongly an advocate for taxpayers.

“I had some concerns about HB 4637 because it left too many issues unaddressed,” said Wilcox.

“I am appreciative of the Governor’s action to alter the language in the legislation.

“Doing so gives my colleagues and me the opportunity to bring a more comprehensive bill forward that better protects taxpayers.”

One of Wilcox’s main concerns about HB 4637 is the fact that if a township decides to dissolve itself into the county, its contractual obligations, including its debt, could be thrust onto the people of the entire county. Meaning, voters in a particular township can decide to dissolve their township and hand over all its debt to the rest of the county.

Wilcox hopes to address that issue, among others, in new legislation:

  • Only taxpayers within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county.
  • All park and cemetery land, buildings and facilities within the geographic area of the dissolving township must be utilized for the primary benefit of the geographic area of the dissolving township. Furthermore, any proceeds from the sale of these assets after dissolution must be utilized for the sole benefit of the geographic area of the dissolving township.
  • Ensures that counties will receive Motor Fuel Tax dollars that were dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. Under the flawed HB 4367, a dissolved township’s lane mile Motor Fuel Tax funding would be redistributed state-wide and not to the county or municipality taking over the road responsibility.

“This amendatory veto now gives us an opportunity to start fresh and improve upon the legislation,” said Wilcox.

“Government consolidation is an important issue that has the potential to save taxpayers money, but it’s also one we have to tackle thoughtfully.”

Senators are scheduled to be back at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29.


Governor Amendatorily Vetoes Abolition of McHenry County Townships by Referendum Bill Killing Vote This Year — 17 Comments

  1. Puppet strings attached by wilcox to althoff no change her folks.

    you had chance to reduce the worst form or government.

    But you were fooled.

    glad Wilcox looked like fool presenting his case.

  2. It has to be proven that tax dollars will be saved.

    Just hoping & saying it will save money by consolidation means absolutely zero.

  3. To be clear, I will say Rauner had his hands full, and did not accomplish much, he is certainly not “widely regarded as the worst governor in the history of Illinois” as Mr. McSweeney stated.

    To wit:

    4 of Illinois’ last 7 governors went to prison
    Rod Blagojevich — Governor from 2002 through 2009, when he became the first Illinois governor in history to be impeached. …
    George Ryan — Governor from 1999 through 2003. …
    Dan Walker — Governor from 1973-1977. …
    Otto Kerner — Governor from 1961-1968.

  4. Perhaps Dan Walker should have gone to prison for what he did as Governor, but he did not.

    He was probably the most severely punished of those involved in the savings and loan scandals.

  5. Anyone who supported this bill should be ashamed.

    HB4637 is a classic example of the garbage legislation created in Springfield relative to Townships.

    It is the type of Legislation that can be compared to “What time does the movie start”. I understand the creator of that piece of garbage also supported the McSweeney bill.

    Garbage Legislation in Springfield turned the position of Highway Commissioner into one of a dictatorship.

    Garbage Legislation in Springfield neutered the power of the voter at the Annual Town Meetings.

    Lack of proper Legislation in Springfield has allowed ‘some’ Townships to establish bloated units of government which are obviously supported by a majority of the voters as recently proven in McHenry Township.

    Each day the real problem in Illinois becomes more obvious:

    Want to fix Illinois government?

    Elect people who will take the time to study the issues and come up with plausible solutions without bias.

    It would appear McSweeney is like Anderson – Townships are an emotional issue.

    One of the few things Rauner did correctly was veto poorly written Legislation which targeted narrow areas.

  6. At least Rauner is consistent.

    Although I favor the abolition of townships, this bill was an ill conceived publicity stunt that would have done nothing but create problems.

    Slogans like “Saving Taxes” have replaced reason in political discourse.

    Wilcox is right on this one.

    Lets see if he introduces a better bill this year or is just talk.

  7. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

    This bill may have been flawed, but it would have given voters in McHenry County the opportunity to take action. Vetoing it because other counties would not have benefited was poor reasoning.

    Pareto efficiency.

    McHenry County would have benefited if the bill had not been vetoed, and no other County would have been harmed.

    If a new and better bill is passed in the next legislative session and signed by the new governor, then little harm has been done.

    If no bill is passed than harm has been done.

  8. Steve Willson, what proof do you have that that bill, elimination of townships, would benefit this county?

  9. Count me out as a supporter of Wilcox.

    No more sign on my yard for rats who think Rauner is good.

    It didn’t take long for him to flip on us.

  10. A McHenry Township plow truck came by at 1:40 PM this afternoon to make the first pass during the snow event.

    Perfect timing!

    I call this great service.

    And this is why the Township haters will not gain traction with their incessant ranting the world is ending because township road districts exist.

  11. McSweeney and Jack Franks concocted this bill to expand Franks’ County fiefdom.

    Notice how the so-called “unnecessary layers of government” would be dissolved BUT their annual tax stream continues on and on, straight into Jack Franks’ County treasury?

    McSweeney and his buddy Jack Franks can’t bear to return even the Townships’ meager TWO-PERCENT of the total tax bill to residents – McSweeney’s HB 4637 instead funnels it all straight to the McFranks County (sorry, McHenry County) $lu$h funds…

  12. @the nob

    My undergraduate degree is in math.

    My first real job out of college was with an actuarial firm.

    I have participated in numerous cost studies.


    There is no way to prove that it won’t either.

    My gut feeling is that eliminating townships would save money, but I could make a case either way, depending upon which side was paying me.

    That is why cost studies must be taken with a very healthy dose of skepticism.

    This whole notion that we have to prove something will work before we even try is just a cynical ploy to lock in the status quo that benefits so many local pols.

  13. Billy Bob look at the factors that will change and then figure approximately the costs.

    Things like travel times, housing if elimination of township’s facilities, unionization of clerical, road and assesments employees if the county takes over. Some numbers can be cooked, but most can’t.

    There should be a effort by both sides to make prove their points with numbers not just feelings.

    The 2015 McDOT report wasn’t favorable for them taking over township roads, of course that was probably a reflection of McDOT desire not to be burdened with more work.

  14. Nob, your comment to me is a non sequitur.

    I said people should have the opportunity to choose, not that it would necessarily save money.

  15. Steve would you say that about schools district consolidation also?

  16. McWeenie should have done the work to prove that there would be savings to the taxpayers by getting rid of townships.

    Just putting bills forth doesn’t a rockstar make!

    This was a deal he went in on with Democrat Jack Franks because Franks wanted to stack with his relatives/patronage workers, all the new employees needed at municipalities to to cover the abolished townships.

    AND all those extra employees in the municipalities would all be union adding to our state pension problem!

    Note you’ll undoubtedly be seeing McWeenie ‘working on’ other bills that are instigated by Franks.

    Note McWeenie didn’t have an opponent.

    Kinda looks like a deal was struck.

  17. If Wilcox is for taxpayers, can he go after property owners who pay 0 taxes? (See Ed Burke story)

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