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.
Craver: Eyes will be on county GOP for township consolidation effort
June 14, 2015 - Northwest Herald
McHenry County Republicans talk a good game about limiting government and lowering taxes when they’re lacing up their cleats in the locker room. They talk a great game when they’re up for re-election. But when it’s time to take the field and play ball, when it’s time to vote on something more substantial than low-hanging fruit, a lot of them flop with feigned injuries. Meaningful reform can make your average McHenry County Republican officeholder shriek in horror like a tween hearing One Direction breakup rumors.... READ MORE
Franks: Listen to taxpayers; reduce size of government
June 10, 2015 - Northwest Herald
Since our nation’s founding, the evolution of government institutions has been toward inclusion and directly empowering the governed. After our country declared independence, voting was restricted to men who owned property. In the 1820s, Andrew Jackson spearheaded the push that made all adult males eligible to vote. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, and the Voting Rights Act of 1964 made good on the sacrifices of more than 400 years of activism by advocates for racial equality. The current fiscal crisis in Illinois is the result of decades of mismanagement and poor decisions. Governors and legislators of both political parties have overspent without regard for priority, ignoring the will of taxpayers, while underinvesting in critical needs such as roads and schools. While advocating for McHenry County... READ MORE
Property tax freeze theme of Tuesday's legislative session
June 8, 2015 - The State Journal-Register
A property tax freeze will be the central topic when the Illinois House and Senate return to session in Springfield Tuesday. The House is scheduled to consider bills in committee that will freeze property taxes beginning this year. The Senate, meanwhile, plans to hold a rare committee-of-the-whole hearing to air out the property tax issue before the entire chamber. A Senate committee previously held a hearing on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal for a property tax freeze that also included provisions for local governments to ignore the state's prevailing wage act on public works projects and to refuse to collectively bargain with public employee unions on some issues. The committee – controlled by Democrats – voted against the bill. The Senate has set aside several... READ MORE
Our View: Don't hijack consolidation efforts
June 7, 2015 - Northwest Herald
In this space on May 1, the Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board wrote the following about a piece of legislation that could lead to the consolidation of redundant governmental entities in Lake and McHenry counties and, therefore, save taxpayers’ money. “... we can’t support any amendment or other interference that would kill the intent of this bill.” With the Spring 2015 legislative session over and the bill still stuck in a Senate committee, it’s clear that political interference from state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, has, at the least, stalled the bill. Filed by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, House Bill 229 would grant the McHenry and Lake county boards the power to eliminate certain units of local government if they find these... READ MORE
Senate to consider property tax freeze Tuesday
June 5, 2015 - Daily Herald
The Illinois Senate is set to debate property taxes next week, Sen. President John Cullerton announced Friday. Gov. Bruce Rauner says high property taxes are the "No. 1 issue in the state," and has made a freeze one of his top priorities. And while Democrats haven't jumped on board with the governor in much of his non-budget legislation, suburban lawmakers could favor a tax freeze, regardless of their party. State Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, introduced his proposal for a property tax freeze earlier this year, but Republicans denounced it. Franks has said he mostly agrees... READ MORE
Lawmakers might not have a budget, but per diem costs are down
June 3, 2015 - Daily Herald
While the Illinois General Assembly might have wrapped up its session Sunday without resolving the state's budget problems, taxpayers can take solace in one thing: Per diem and mileage payments to lawmakers are at the lowest levels in at least seven years. And House Speaker Michael Madigan said taxpayers can't be charged for state representatives' mileage and $111 daily allowances when he calls his chamber back to Springfield on Thursday. This year, Illinois ranks 32nd among the states for amount paid for legislative daily allowances... READ MORE
Franks trying to push McHenry County government consolidation bill through obstacles
June 1, 2015 - Northwest Herald
The author of a contentious McHenry County government consolidation bill vowed that the fight to get it passed will continue through the summer. Although the spring legislative session in Springfield ended Sunday, state Rep. Jack Franks said upcoming meeting days called by legislative leaders – and more, should budget and reform battles drag on between the Democratic General Assembly and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner – will give him opportunities to fight to get his consolidation bill over the final hurdles and off to Rauner’s desk. “It’s far from over, and as you know, I’m pretty tenacious,” Franks... READ MORE
Incentives measure for convention space passes House
May 31, 2015 - The Rock River Times
Money from the Tourism Promotion Fund can go to municipalities or their convention center authorities for various projects–if it brings in outside business–with a measure that passed the House Saturday. Opponents said it subsidizes the public sector at the disadvantage of the private sector. During House Debate Democrat Kenneth Dunkin said he worries the measure would take dollars meant to promote tourism in the whole state and give it to local governments. Democratic Sponsor Fred Crespo tried to ease those concerns. “Potential loss of local distributive funds, property tax... READ MORE
Guest View: The courage for constructive reform: HB 229
May 30, 2015 - Northwest Herald
It is heartbreaking to see an increasing number of friends and constituents in McHenry County express outrage and frustration as their taxes increase and government seems powerless to provide solutions. Even worse is that many are considering moving away where taxes are affordable. As a result, I believe it is vital for local and state government officials to search and seize upon any tools that can help stem the tide of the overwhelming tax burden being shouldered by our citizens. In April, this appeared to have occurred when state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, introduced House Bill 229 and received the support of state Reps. Barb Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, and David McSweeney... READ MORE
Our View: Buying local also includes food
May 30, 2015 - Northwest Herald
The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down: Thumbs up: To local efforts by residents, farmers and officials to make locally grown food more available. We always have encouraged our readers to buy local, but that extends beyond traditional purchases to include the food on our tables, as well. Partnerships between growers and restaurants, markets, food hubs and co-ops benefit farms and help our local economy, as well as provide area families with healthy, fresh produce. Thumbs up: To all of the area police officers from many departments who sat on roofs Friday at Dunkin’ Donuts in many cities and villages, raising funds for Special Olympics through... READ MORE
Lawmakers Working This Weekend As Budget Deadline Looms
May 29, 2015 - WICS News Channel 20
The clock is ticking as democratic lawmakers continue to send their ideas for the state's next budget to republican Governor Bruce Rauner with just two days left before the May 31st deadline. Some lawmakers were expecting to have all their business done by midnight tonight, but after leaving the statehouse earlier this evening, the general assembly website says lawmakers will be back at it tomorrow. Governor Rauner says he will not call a special session if a budget agreement isn't reached by the end of Sunday. Each of the budgets put forth, by the governor and democrats, spends more money than available to the state. But the governor won't agree to new revenue ideas, and democrats have rejected business reforms he wants. While most lawmakers have... READ MORE
Clock's ticking, President Cullerton. Help these suburban taxpayers.
March 28, 2015 - Chicago Tribune
Earlier this week, after several rounds of testy, theatrical votes aimed at embarrassing Gov. Bruce Rauncer, the Illinois House actually debated a bill on circuses. Oh, the irony. Perhaps you've noticed Springfield is heavy into lawmaking... READ MORE
Despite meetings with suburban lawmakers, are more headaches to come for Rauner?
May 28, 2015 - Daily Herald
Back in January, state Rep. Jack Franks described a meeting he had with Gov. Bruce Rauner as the new Illinois CEO tried to get to know lots of lawmakers. The Marengo Democrat said he took Rauner a large bottle of Excedrin to help cope with the inevitable headaches to come. Now, lawmakers are scheduled to leave Springfield Sunday night, and much of Rauner's agenda has either been rejected or ignored by Democrats who control the Capitol. There are a few days left, and things can happen quickly. But the governor is running short on time if he wants to avoid leaving his first regular legislative session largely empty-handed... READ MORE
Who are the House Democrats who voted ‘no’ to Madigan’s spending bills?
May 27, 2015 - Reboot Illinois
With just days until the spring legislative session comes to a close, House Democrats, the supermajority party, passed nine budget bills that propose spending nearly $4 billion more than what the state expects to collect in tax revenue. While the votes were largely split across party lines, four Democrats, all from the suburbs, joined Republicans in voting “no” on almost all of the proposed spending plans. Among the Democratic outliers were state Reps. Scott Drury, Jack Franks, Elaine Nekritz, and Sam Yingling voting against all but one of the spending plans. (A chart of all votes on the nine bills with explanations of each bill is... READ MORE
Bill that freezes expansion of local government approved by Illinois Legislature
May 19, 2015 - Reboot Illinois
Legislation that places a four-year ban on the creation of any new local taxing bodies has passed the Illinois General Assembly and now awaits the governor’s approval. Under House Bill 228, new units of local government would be exempt only if they’re formed from the consolidation of two or more existing entities. The bill’s chief sponsor, state Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Marengo, has been an ardent advocate for local government consolidation and property tax relief. Illinois has more than 7,000 local government units throughout the state, all of which have the ability to levy local property taxes... READ MORE
Madigan calls for millionaire surcharge amendment vote; Rauner on education and more from INN Radio
May 16, 2015 - Illinois News Network
The Speaker of the House is pushing for a constitutional amendment to ask voters to increase taxes on millionaires in Illinois, but the Governor is skeptical any increase would get to where it’s intended. In a Friday press release, House Speaker Michael Madigan says the revenue generated from such a tax would fund elementary and high school education. But, speaking to a group of school superintendents Friday, Governor Bruce Rauner says all kinds of increased revenue has been brought about with the purpose being for funding education, but it hasn’t worked. “Everytime we wanna raise a tax we say it’s to fund schools. We brought casinos in to fund schools. We brought the lottery in to fund schools. We’re now trying to tax successful... READ MORE
Property tax freeze goes on hold
May 16, 2015 - The Rock River Times
SPRINGFIELD — Debate got testy again on the floor of the Illinois House Friday as representatives considered a property tax freeze measure sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo). In the end, the measure — an amendment to House Bill 695 — gathered 37 votes, enough to pass the amendment but fewer than the 60 votes it would take to move legislation from the House. The bill remains alive but on hold. Republicans decried the measure as flawed and said the fact that it was being debated in amendment form and not as a piece of legislation ready to move forward showed Democrats were just grandstanding. Franks disagreed... READ MORE
Illinois property-tax freeze called a stunt, faces uncertain future
May 15, 2015 - Northwest Herald
A bill to freeze property taxes statewide could be headed to an Illinois House vote, although a Republican boycott of the measure makes it very unlikely it will pass. House Bill 695, a shell bill modified Monday by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, would forbid any Illinois taxing body from raising property taxes except by voter referendum. But the 37-23 vote to approve the language was entirely Democratic – 38 Republicans, who want to see what Gov. Bruce Rauner has in mind for a freeze, voted “present” and allege that the freeze is nothing more than a politically-motivated attempt to stymie Rauner’s agenda. Sixty votes are needed for the bill to pass. Franks, who ... READ MORE