Welcome!

Welcome!

I’m State Representative Jack Franks. I represent the 63rd District in the Illinois House of Representatives, which includes the Northern and Western portion of McHenry County. As a third-generation resident of McHenry County, my top priority is to fight on your behalf in our state’s capitol.

On this site, you will find information about my stances on public policy issues, upcoming events and recent news. You can also contact me directly by clicking here. Democracy works best when citizens participate in the process, so please let me know your thoughts on how we can work together get Illinois back on the right track.

Since I took office, your support and ideas have been invaluable, and together we have changed Illinois for the better. From shining a bright light on corruption and government wrongdoing, to fighting for better schools and a lower tax burden, your input has made a difference. But, there is still so much to be done.

Our state needs serious budget and ethics reforms and we must make government function more efficiently. In my next term, I will continue fighting for the things you and I both believe in: a friendlier business climate, lower taxes, and sensible, transparent spending.

Thanks again for visiting my website.


 


 

LATEST NEWS

 

 

 

Schaumburg: Open your wallet for public documents

November 23, 2014 - Northwest Herald

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, is working hard to get the state’s minimum wage increased during this fall’s veto session in Springfield. It’s the least Springfield can do. After all, you are going to need more money to pay for public documents that belong to you after the state Legislature gets its way. Last spring, state government rammed through legislation that sought to limit the public’s access to public documents through Freedom of Information Act requests. House Bill 3796 lets governments identify certain FOIA requests as “voluminous.” Then, the government unit can delay providing information and charge between $20 and $100 for electronic data. Yes, you could pay $100 for information that already belongs to you. Voluminous is defined in the bill as a request that includes more than... READ MORE

Franks: Wait on Lincoln Library decision

November 20, 2014 - Daily Herald

SPRINGFIELD -- The chair of a state committee says lawmakers should wait for an outside study before considering plans to separate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from a state agency. Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks leads the State Government Administration Committee. He says it's "prudent" to wait for the report experts will submit in January. House Speaker Michael Madigan brought back a proposal this month to separate the museum from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The Democrat initially proposed the bill following a clash between leaders of the two organizations. It wasn't called by the Senate. His reintroduced bill remains in committee. Experts commissioned by Franks' committee are studying the issue. Franks says things aren't working but he... READ MORE

Jim Dey: Lincoln's library has own fight on secession

November 20, 2014 - The News-Gazette

President Abraham Lincoln waged a costly civil war to prevent secession. Now, nearly 10 years after a presidential library in his honor was opened in Springfield, supporters of this nation's 16th president are waging their own war of secession. Fearing the eventual demise of this valuable historic and tourist resource, they want to sever the bonds of servitude from the library/museum and free it from tyranny represented by its overseer, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Preservation agency chiefs don't see the issue in the same light. Hence, the ongoing political battle under way in the Illinois General Assembly over the library's future. Will it remain under the control of the preservation agency? Or be freed to operate as an independent organization? "I think wholesale change is necessary," said state Rep. Jack Franks, chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee. "But I don't know what it looks... READ MORE

Franks: Hold off on making agency for ALPLM

November 19, 2014 - The State Journal-Register

The Illinois House apparently will wait for the results of a study panel before deciding whether to make the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a stand-alone state agency. Following a hearing of the House State Government Administration Committee on the issue Wednesday, chairman Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said it would be prudent to wait until the report is delivered in mid-January. “I want to hear from experts. Otherwise we’re guessing,” Franks said. “I want to hear what the best practices are with other states and other institutions and learn from them and create possible library and museum we can. Because, right now, it’s clear it isn’t working as it should... READ MORE

Illinois Lincoln Museum Could 'Secede' From Library

November 18, 2014 - WNIJ

A museum devoted to the president who held the union together could itself secede from the Illinois agency that oversees it. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is one of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency's top attractions. But leaders of the two entities and a supporting foundation have reportedly been at odds--to the point that House Speaker Mike Madigan is proposing to split the museum off on its own. Legislators are scheduled to debate the idea this week, at a committee... READ MORE

From the community: Tax Relief Cannot Wait until Next Year

November 17, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - State Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, released the following statement calling for critical tax relief proposals to be acted upon by the Illinois General Assembly during Veto Session: "When the legislature returns to Springfield this week, the current state of Illinois' economy makes conducting business as usual simply unacceptable. Our state lags well behind in job creation and economic growth, and our long-term fiscal solvency remains in jeopardy. "The results of the election sent a clear message: the people of Illinois are demanding tax relief. The expiration of Governor Quinn's 2011 income tax hike will be a strong boost to taxpayers' bottom lines, but it alone cannot be expected to cure all. To jumpstart the growth our state needs, an overhaul of our antiquated and inequitable tax system is required, and the legislature should not miss the opportunity to begin this process. "In September, I introduced House Bill... READ MORE

Millionaire tax proposal still a long shot in Illinois

November 10, 2014 - Quad-City Times

SPRINGFIELD — A majority of Illinois voters backed a proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot to raise taxes on millionaires but don't look for the wealthy to be pinching their pennies any time soon. In order for such a tax to become law, the Illinois Constitution would have to be changed. And that can't happen for at least two more years. Last Tuesday, about 64 percent of voters backed House Speaker Michael Madigan's nonbinding "millionaire tax" proposal, which would tack a 3 percent income tax surcharge on taxpayers who make more than $1 million. The money raised, estimated to be $1 billion based on the number of households with incomes topping the $1 million mark, would go to help fund public schools. But Tuesday's vote was only... READ MORE

New Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner administration: Lawmakers, experts weigh in

November 8, 2014 - Northwest Herald

When CEOs want things done, their employees leap into action and get them done. It’s not a management philosophy that works when a Republican CEO is elected governor with a General Assembly dominated by the other party. But Springfield watchers and McHenry County’s state representatives said they are confident that Governor-elect Bruce Rauner will work well with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to address the significant hurdles facing Illinois. The bottom line is that both sides are going to have to make deals to move initiatives through, said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale... READ MORE

McHenry County Republicans say new leadership fueled local rout

November 7, 2014 - Northwest Herald

The McHenry County Republican Party shared in the national rout the GOP achieved Tuesday night. After eight years with a small Democratic minority, the new County Board that will be seated Dec. 1 will again revert to all Republican rule after GOP newcomers defeated the 24-member board’s two Democratic incumbents and convincingly thumped two other Democratic challengers. And Bill Prim, the McHenry County sheriff’s candidate who narrowly edged out Undersheriff Andrew Zinke in the March primary, received 60 percent of the vote Tuesday to defeat independent candidate Jim Harrison. Republicans nationally took control of the U.S. Senate, increased their hold on the U.S. House, and gained control of several governor’s offices when most polls expected them to lose a few overall. Besides Bruce Rauner’s win in Illinois over Pat Quinn... READ MORE

Democrats Consider Supermajority in Illinois House

November 6, 2014 - Alton Daily News

When the music stopped on Election Night, only one of the 177 seats in the Illinois General Assembly switched parties. That would be the one held by State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who lost to Neil Anderson. The Democrats will hold 71 of the 118 seats in the House and 39 of the 59 in the Senate. State House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) credits talent and hard work. “I think what you have is a bunch of hard-working people who were able to connect well with their constituents,” she says, “and we also have people working with us who have been-there-done-that; (who) know how to put together a campaign (and) know how to make sure that the vote comes out.” As for that 71-member “supermajority” which, if deployed, could override a governor's veto, all you have to do is look to State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) to give the lie to that concept... READ MORE

Lake County Clerk calls Election Day lawsuit ‘extraordinary takeover’

November 5, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

Outgoing Lake County Clerk Willard Helander said Wednesday that an Election Day order forcing five polling places to stay open until 9 p.m. “was an extraordinary takeover of the election.” The extended voting window at grace registration sites came after a lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. One of the complaints related to voters who previously requested absentee ballots but then decided to vote in person. Madigan’s second complaint alleges that Helander was denying voters a chance to cast ballots because grace registration and same-day voting didn’t open until 10 a.m. at five county sites, even though the polls were open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Madigan said the grace sites should have been operating those same hours. “The 10 a.m. opening time was in a legal notice that was published 10 to 15 days before the election. This [lawsuit] was a reaction at the end of an Election Day by individuals that need more votes in the bank,” Helander said... READ MORE

Pyke: Is 10-year plan for Metra hikes justified?

October 20, 2014 - Daily Herald

A Metra white paper that makes the case for a fare increase, totaling 68 percent compounded over 10 years, contains some interesting numbers. Although the report features 51 references to capital, 47 mentions of train cars, 34 uses of the word "locomotive" and 47 appearances by the phrase "positive train control," there's just one reference to a proposed 3 percent cost-of-living increase each year for a decade. "We're looking at the riders and meeting their demands to have the best service possible, a safe, efficient, comfortable ride," Executive Director Don Orseno said Friday. Much of the focus as Metra leaders explained their bold financial plan these last few days has been on the tangible things -- $1.2 billion for 367 new train cars, $594.5 million to rebuild 85 locomotives and buy 52 new ones, an estimated $400 million for positive train control... READ MORE

Our View: Jack Franks for 63rd state representative

October 16, 2014 - Northwest Herald

McHENRY – A proposed school funding formula would be devastating to the collar counties and their school districts, one state legislator told local school officials, teachers and residents. The statement was part of a running theme at the Tuesday forum, which was one of several state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, has put on to raise awareness of Senate Bill 16. The forum featured two school superintendents, a school finance director, a District 47 school board member and several local legislators. The bill, which passed through the Illinois Senate and sits in the House Rules Committee, would shift general state aid away from the suburbs, where property values are high, to poorer, rural districts. That would mean $5.8 million less for Crystal Lake’s District 47, according to updated projections put out by the Illinois State Board of Education based on the most recent version of the bill. A cut of that size would be the equivalent of... READ MORE

Proposed Illinois school funding formula would affect McHenry County, lawmakers and officials warn

October 14, 2014 - Northwest Herald

McHENRY – A proposed school funding formula would be devastating to the collar counties and their school districts, one state legislator told local school officials, teachers and residents. The statement was part of a running theme at the Tuesday forum, which was one of several state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, has put on to raise awareness of Senate Bill 16. The forum featured two school superintendents, a school finance director, a District 47 school board member and several local legislators. The bill, which passed through the Illinois Senate and sits in the House Rules Committee, would shift general state aid away from the suburbs, where property values are high, to poorer, rural districts. That would mean $5.8 million less for Crystal Lake’s District 47, according to updated... READ MORE

Thursday’s NRI hearing answers few questions

October 9, 2014 - Illinois Watchdog

CHICAGO — As the second day of hearings regarding Gov. Pat Quinn’s scrutinized Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) proceeded before the Legislative Audit Commission, more questions arose as to the whereabouts of a study to determine the criteria for which communities would receive funding from the program. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, co-chairs the audit commission and said the greatest mystery of the hearings was the inability to locate the study that helped determine which communities and organizations were most in need of funding through the NRI. “There was some analysis somewhere that showed us something, of which none of us remember what it was, how it was based or can produce the document that supposedly exists,” Barickman said. Barickman’s comments were aimed toward former Quinn advisor Jack Lavin, who testified before the commission... READ MORE

Sen. Althoff, area lawmakers and school administrators will host forum on impact of SB 16, bill to redirect school funds in Illinois

October 9, 2014 - Chicago Tribune

A public forum hosted by state Senator Pamela Althoff, (R-McHenry) is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, at McHenry West High School Auditorium, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road in McHenry. Residents are invited to attend the forum to hear about the impact of SB 16 on suburban Illinois schools and property taxpayers. Senator Althoff, local state representatives and school officials will outline the negative implications of the education funding reform legislation contained in SB 16. Speakers are expected to include Senator Althoff, State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), State Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), School District 18 Superintendent Jerry Trickett, School District 47 Superintendent Kathy Hinz, School District.. READ MORE

Taxes, economy at issue in Quinn-Rauner debate

October 9, 2014 - Daily Herald

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner continued their monthslong battle over taxes and the economy in their first televised debate, questioning each other's leadership skills and disagreeing sharply on the election's key issues. The two candidates fought for the populist high ground as Rauner talked of lower taxes, Quinn pushed an increase in the minimum wage, and both argued he'd be the man that spends more money on public schools. play video video Full debate Quinn sought to contrast his plans to raise Illinois' minimum wage above $10 per hour against Rauner's personal wealth: "A person taking in $53 million a year, running around Illinois saying eliminate the minimum wage," Quinn said. Rauner, meanwhile, pointed to Quinn's years in office... READ MORE

Civil war - Fight continues over ALPLM

October 9, 2014 - Illinois Times

Dysfunction and acrimony were on full display last week as state lawmakers in Chicago discussed the future of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Officials charged with running the museum threw brickbats at each other during the hearing of the House State Government Administration Committee. ALPLM executive director Eileen Mackevich told lawmakers that she isn’t allowed to make decisions about hiring or spending. She said that she had no meaningful role in hiring either the institution’s chief of staff or deputy director. “Why do we need you?” asked Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, chairman of the committee. “I’m redundant,” admitted Mackevich, who described Amy Martin, head of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency that is the institution’s umbrella agency... READ MORE

Attorney General warns against identity theft at Crystal Lake forum

October 8, 2014 - My Suburban Life

CRYSTAL LAKE – Every year, there are about 200,000 complaints about consumer issues that come into the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday during a Crystal Lake forum. Attended by more than 40 community leaders, elected officials and law enforcement agents, the roundtable event was intended to address those concerns, such as consumer fraud and identity theft. “Back in 2006, for the first time ever, identity theft was the No. 1 consumer fraud complaint category,” Madigan said, adding it was only displaced to No. 2 after the 2008 recession hoisted issues of mortgage-related scams to the top spot... READ MORE

Lawmakers Debate Overhaul Of Lincoln Library & Museum

October 1, 2013 - CBS2 Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – State lawmakers on Wednesday discussed the future of the Abraham Presidential Library and Museum, amid a proposal by House Speaker Michael Madigan to split it off from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the House State Government Administration Committee met in Chicago to take up the issue. Madigan has argued IHPA control of the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield has hamstrung the institution. Supporters of the plan to separate ALPLM have said problems with the current governance of the facility have led to squabbles between the museum advisory board and the IHPA board, and significant debt for the private fundraising foundation. State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), who... READ MORE

Official: Donations drying up for Lincoln library

October 1, 2014 - Seattle PI

CHICAGO (AP) — Top officials at the foundation behind the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum said Wednesday that fundraising is drying up because of tensions between the library's executive director and the director of the state agency that oversees it. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation's chair and CEO told a legislative panel in Chicago on Wednesday that they've heard from numerous donors who are holding off until "issues are resolved" — and that this year's fundraising totals are about $1.5 million behind the $4.7 million raised by the foundation in 2013. "Yesterday, these prospective donors said, 'Tell us why we should give to you. There are a lot of places we give, and it seems you're in the midst of a lot of dissention,'" CEO Carla Knorowski said. "This continues almost certainly on a weekly basis." The dip in donations was detailed at the hearing scheduled after outcry over legislation sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan that would... READ MORE

Lawmaker: Management makeover at Lincoln museum still needed

November 26, 2014 - Politics Early & Often

SPRINGFIELD-Oversight of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum -- a politically charged fight that surrounds one of the state’s biggest tourism gems and that's been on legislative hiatus since May -- will resurface next week as a new round of hearings on the issue opens. The House State Government Administration Committee will convene on Wednesday in Chicago to take up a management makeover of the museum that House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, first raised in the closing hours of the spring legislative session. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, chairman of the panel, voted against Madigan’s legislation but now said he wants to explore the issue more deeply and position a restructuring package for a vote next spring under a newly seated General Assembly. Franks said he isn’t sure what that package will... READ MORE

Sheriff to begin testing body cameras in McHenry County

September 21, 2014 - Northwest Herald

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office will be the first agency in the county to experiment with body-worn cameras, a trendy police tool sweeping the nation in the wake of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri. The Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson and the racially charged protests in the St. Louis suburb that followed have raised questions about police tactics and the police relationship with the public. Where's the story? PointsMentioned Map 11 Points Mentioned Agencies across the country are beginning to test whether body cameras – generally the size of a pager – are the answer. In Illinois alone, police in Chicago, Elgin, Peoria and Springfield have considered body cameras for their officers after Ferguson police began attaching them to their uniforms following Brown’s shooting. Last week, McHenry County Sheriff deputies tried on body-worn cameras for the first time ahead of a 45-day experimental... READ MORE

Committee nixes McHenry County Board restructuring

September 21, 2014 - Northwest Herald

WOODSTOCK – A committee sees no need to recommend altering the number of McHenry County Board members and districts after the next U.S. Census. The second meeting of the Reorganization Committee will be its last, as members concluded that the County Board’s structure is adequate, and that talk of changing it is at the very least premature, with the next opportunity to do so seven years and four elections away. Thursday’s meeting comprised just under half of the board. “The majority of members felt that we are in pretty good shape as to where they are ... we’re not hearing an outcry from the public as to, ‘There’s too many board members,’ ” said committee Chairwoman Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake. The opinion of the committee, shared since its inaugural July meeting, was that the entire debate has been politically driven... READ MORE

ALPLM panel to convene peace talks

September 18, 2014 - Illinois Times

Members of an advisory board to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library have agreed to sit on a panel designed to explore governance issues that erupted last spring when the board’s chairman pushed legislation to divorce the institution from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Steven Beckett, a University Illinois law professor who chairs the advisory board, had blasted the IHPA’s proposal for an ad hoc panel to discuss governance. He says that he still wants the ALPLM to become a stand-alone agency, but not everyone on his board agrees. “I have a divided board that wants to keep an open mind,” Beckett said. “I can’t represent to you that it’s peace and harmony. I can represent that we’ll work with IHPA people on ideas and suggestions on how governance can be improved.” Two advisory board members... READ MORE

Critic dubs Metra’s $1.3M tab for Clifford exit ‘indefensible’

September 4, 2014 - Politics Early & Often

Metra’s total tab to bid adieu to former CEO Alex Clifford and deal with the fallout was $1.3 million — just over half of that for outside lawyers and crisis consulting, officials revealed Thursday. One critic called the ultimate tab “indefensible,” but new Metra Board Chairman Martin Oberman said the suburban commuter rail agency has since taken steps to avoid a repeat of the messy episode. The Metra board’s June 21, 2013 decision to pay Clifford up to $871,000 to resign with eight months left on his contract ignited a firestorm of criticism. The fine print showed the golden handshake included retroactive as well as future raises over as long as a 26-month period. Afterwards, six board members... READ MORE

House Republicans blast Quinn's new insurance tax

September 4, 2014 - Crain's Chicago Business

Complaining they were “misled,” Illinois House Republicans are asking Gov. Pat Quinn not to enforce a significant new business tax they helped create a few months ago."There's anger,” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said in an interview. “People are upset.” he co-chaired earlier this year on business tax reform issues. “It's going to be very difficult to trust the administration in the future when they seek a technical change.” Spokesmen for the Department of Insurance and the governor did not have an immediate... READ MORE

DNR: Cheaper hunting, fishing licenses unavailable until Oct. 1, says refund will be offered

August 27, 2014 - Northwest Herald

Chuck Lemker of Crystal Lake was looking forward to purchasing hunting and fishing licenses at a reduced price this month. He should have been able to starting Aug. 1 when Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 4329, which allows Illinois' senior residents to obtain hunting and fishing licenses at a reduced cost of $1, and various stamps for free. Much to the 81-year-old's dismay, though, the reduced fee was not available when he tried a couple days after Aug. 1 to purchase a license online. “The bottom line is although the bill was signed by the governor Aug. 1, we still don't have an effective law,” Lemker said Tuesday. Although the law is in effect, the system is not yet ready, according to the Department of Natural Resources. “Changes to the system started back in late-April, early-May as soon as it became clear the bill would be passed,” spokesman Chris Young said. “However, there are an awful lot of systems that had to be reprogrammed and tested. … It's just taking a while. Systems have to be... READ MORE

Metra chair: Firm should temporarily act as chief audit officer

August 25, 2014 - Politics Early & Often

After two unsuccessful candidate searches, the Metra board is expected to hire an experienced public sector auditing firm for up to $330,000 to temporarily assume the new “reform” role of chief audit officer and other tasks. A search by Metra’s human resources department, as well as one by professional search firm Krauthamer & Associates, so far has failed to uncover “the right person” for a job board members feel is crucial to Metra’s reform efforts, Metra Board chairman Martin Oberman said Monday. Of the final round of seven or eight candidates interviewed by board members since April, some turned out to be “not interested;” others did not have the right “credentials” or “seasoning,” Oberman said. “I’ve seen the candidates. They are not bad people. They are just not the right person for the job,” Oberman said. “This is a very senior position. You want them to have respect in the organization. You don’t just hire someone with an accounting degree after their name... READ MORE

A tiny step toward smaller government

August 25, 2014 - Herald Review

Gov. Pat Quinn quietly signed a bill last week that takes a small step toward giving taxpayers a chance to reduce the number of local governments in Illinois. A really small step. Almost too small to notice. Quinn signed House Bill 5785, which gives the most obscure units of local government the power to eliminate themselves. We don't want to diminish the efforts of Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, who has worked tirelessly to trim the state's nearly 7,000 units of local government. With these governmental units banding together and using tax dollars to lobby against their elimination, any step is worth noting. The new law would allow the boards of taxing districts such as cemetery, civic center, port, waste disposal, street lighting, water authority and a few other districts to either consolidate into a neighboring district or have their... READ MORE

Metra chair: Firm should temporarily act as chief audit officer

August 25, 2014 - Chicago Sun-Times

After two unsuccessful candidate searches, the Metra board is expected to hire an experienced public sector auditing firm for up to $330,000 to temporarily assume the new “reform” role of chief audit officer and other tasks. A search by Metra’s human resources department, as well as one by professional search firm Krauthamer & Associates, so far has failed to uncover “the right person” for a job board members feel is crucial to Metra’s reform efforts, Metra Board chairman Martin Oberman said Monday. Of the final round of seven or eight candidates interviewed by board members since April, some turned out to be “not interested;” others did not have the right “credentials” or “seasoning,” Oberman said. “I’ve seen the candidates. They are not bad people. They are just not the right person for the job,” Oberman said. “This is a very senior position. You want them to have respect... READ MORE

Local agencies can consolidate if they choose

August 25, 2014 - My Suburban Life

SPRINGFIELD – A new law makes it easier for local government bodies to consolidate or eliminate themselves. Gov. Quinn signed a bill earlier this month that enables local taxing bodies to join rather than continue operating as separate entities. Before the law was passed, local units of government had no authority to absorb, combine or eliminate other units of government. Now, a majority vote from a particular entity’s board will allow for consolidation or discontinuation of various units for the sake of efficiency, fiscal practicality or logistical purposes. State Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Barrington, helped State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston sponsor the bill in the Senate. Duffy said this legislation could help reduce the growing cost of government in the Land of Lincoln. “There’s just too many bodies taking money from people,” Duffy said. “This will at least give local entities the opportunity to reduce the tax burden of the residents of the state.” Biss said local control leads... READ MORE

State portal still doesn’t include local gov’t salaries

August 24, 2014 - Northwest Herald

Tryon agreed that CMS should move to add the local government salary data. He agreed with Franks that CMS has a tendency to inflate costs, and said the cost of creating the portal came in far under its initial estimate when lawmakers were advancing Tryon’s bill. “I think a transparent government is what everybody wants. When you look at the investment that every unit of government has made in [information technology] and computer systems, this should be a relatively easy job for anybody to do,” Tryon said. State law already requires local governments to post online the annual salaries of all employees whose total compensation exceeds $75,000. About this series “No More Excuses” is the Northwest Herald’s ongoing series of stories about the public’s right to know in Illinois. What it means State lawmakers... READ MORE