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.







Rauner corporate tax-break plan tightens rules, draws critics

November 15, 2015 - Belleville News

CHAMPAIGN Gov. Bruce Rauner describes his decision last week to rein in corporate tax breaks as more effective and fair through demanding that recipient companies create jobs rather than merely preserve what they have. But the new steps, which also include eliminating special tax breaks for big companies with clout, were met by complaints from business advocates that they will limit Illinois’ ability to compete with other states. On the flip side, longtime critics of state corporate tax breaks say Rauner’s approach doesn’t go nearly far enough. Both camps say it’s time Illinois has a deeper discussion about how it courts businesses and jobs in a climate where the state has a serious shortfall of revenue, companies use the breaks to pit one state against... READ MORE

McHenry County child care providers watch subsidy program after bill fails

November 11, 2015 - Northwest Herald

hild care providers and low-income parents in McHenry County breathed a small sigh of relief this week as they saw some concessions on the state’s child care subsidy program. But after a bill that would have restored funding to the Child Care Assistance Program and limited Gov. Bruce Rauner’s power to implement future restrictions failed to pass the Illinois House, those same advocates are not done worrying. Sheila Henson, the executive director of Brown Bear Daycare in Harvard, said she still is waiting to see what happens to the program when an emergency rule that was enacted this summer and amended Monday goes before the Joint... READ MORE

From the community: Franks’ Efforts to Streamline Government Recognized with Transformer Award

November 4, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

WOODSTOCK, Ill. - State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, was honored as an inaugural recipient of the Transform Illinois Coalition's State Government Transformer Award in recognition of his ongoing efforts to consolidate duplicative taxing bodies and demand greater accountability from all units of Illinois government. Franks joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, Carol Portman of the Taxpayer Federation of Illinois, and Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti at the Transform Illinois Coalition's conference Monday to emphasize the need for independent thinking and bipartisan cooperation to address the challenges facing the state. "With the most units of local.... READ MORE

State Rep Says His Plan Would Balance Budget Without A Tax Hike

November 2, 2015 - Northern Public Radio

Taxes are a major sticking point in the Illinois budget impasse. Legislative leaders say a tax hike is needed to balance the budget and provide needed services. The governor says he’s open to a tax hike, but only if the Legislature passes business and political reforms. A northern Illinois legislator says there’s a way to balance the budget without raising taxes. State Representative Jack Franks has a plan. The Woodstock Democrat says, first, you get rid of what he calls corporate welfare, as enshrined in the current tax system. “We have created a system of in the state of Illinois of crony capitalism... READ MORE

McHenry County representatives optimistic about Illinois budget, but not a quick fix

October 26, 2015 - Northwest Herald

McHenry County lawmakers are optimistic a meeting between Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders will help lead to an end to the four-month state budget impasse. But they’re not optimistic about a state budget being approved before January – six months into the 2016 budget year that began July 1. Lawmakers reacted positively to news of a potential Nov. 18 meeting between the Republican governor, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, who hold Democratic House and Senate supermajorities. But even a fruitful meeting that leads to a bridging of the gap that divides them most likely... READ MORE

Lawmaker miffed after Illinois education leaders skip meeting on perks

October 20, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

Illinois' state school superintendent and the chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education declined to appear before a legislative committee Tuesday morning, escalating tensions between lawmakers and education officials over costly perks given out to ISBE administrators even as public schools were struggling financially.... READ MORE

Lawmakers ask state education officials to explain superintendent perk

October 6, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

The controversy over a special stipend given to new state school Superintendent Tony Smith isn't over yet. Lawmakers have asked Illinois State Board of Education officials to appear before a legislative committee later this month to explain why the stipend hasn't been removed from Smith's contract, according to a letter obtained by the Tribune... READ MORE

Haul everybody to Springfield

October 6, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

Two numbers to consider as Illinois enters its fourth month without a budget agreement. The first number is 16.4 million. That's roughly the number of dollars per day the state is falling into arrears simply because lawmakers and the governor can't agree on a taxing and spending plan for the fiscal year that began in July.... READ MORE

OUR VIEW: Frustration on both sides of the aisle

September 30, 2015 - The Times

With all the terrible economic news dogging our state, remarkably, it’s Illinois’ inability to pay big-ticket lottery winners that’s earning us the loudest Bronx cheers. The lack of authority to issue checks to those who win more than $25,000 is embarrassing, to be sure, and it’s unfair to those who bought winning tickets. But that’s just one of the awful things happening every day as a result of the state budget impasse— except to those with court orders guaranteeing payment. Comptroller Leslie Munger told a Small Newspaper Group editorial board that Illinois is paying 90 percent of its expenses as a result of statutory obligations and court orders. Lottery winners may soon join them, if the... READ MORE

Franks: Time to decide what Illinois lawmakers stand for

September 29, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Remarkably, despite the urgency of the state’s financial crisis, the Cubs could be hoisting a World Series trophy before Illinois has a real budget. I can’t fault Democrats for opposing severe cuts, and I stand alongside many of my Republican colleagues in opposing higher taxes. Like the people I represent, I believe with hard work and compromise, we can find a more balanced approach. What troubles me is that instead of seeking this middle ground, both sides have come to agree on a destructive shared delusion that it’s OK for taxpayers to suffer as long as the other... READ MORE

Carol Marin: Springfield Mushrooms, rise from your cellars

September 25, 2015 - Chicago Sun-Times

Rise up, mushroom lawmakers in Springfield. Leave the musty darkness of your cellars. Unshackle yourselves from your leaders. Stifle your re-election fears. Grow a spine. There are few in the General Assembly willing to do any of that. But two state legislators showed up on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight this past week to urge a revolt of the rank and file in behalf of getting something — anything — done. ... READ MORE

Generating Bipartisan Votes to Solve Illinois' Budget Impasse

September 21, 2015 - WTTW 11

Illinois is coming up on almost three months with no state budget. A patchwork of programs is being funded under various court mandates and stopgap measures. But despite the fiscal crisis, the General Assembly hasn't been in session much at all this month. And, just as we've heard all summer, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders don't appear to be any closer to a solution. Is there a bipartisan path out of the state's current mess? "Enough is enough," said Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks. "It's a disgrace... READ MORE

Guest View: Illinois in need of 2-year budget

September 15, 2015 - Northwest Herald

The state of Illinois is now three months into a new fiscal year without a budget. As a result, the state will spend at least $6 billion more than it brings in. Illinois essentially will have operated under four different budgets in the span of two years – the fiscal 2015 budget, the 2015 “fix” budget, the court-ordered current 2016 budget and, at some point, hopefully, the governor will sign a real 2016 budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. No financial institution or business can thrive without long-term planning, and the state of Illinois has not considered this fact in decades. Illinois is on the financial brink. It is on a path to utter financial ruin and economic devastation for our people. We call for the General... READ MORE

Illinois Lottery Suspends Payouts Until State Lawmakers Settle Budget Stalemate

September 14, 2015 - NPR

People who have hopes of winning a big lottery prize will have to put their dreams on hold in Illinois. The Governor and Illinois lawmakers can't come to terms over a state budget and until they do, lottery prizes over $25,000 will be delayed. Lottery winners aren't too happy, and some have filed a class action lawsuit against the state.... READ MORE

Suit seeks to force Illinois Lottery to pay big winners

September 9, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

Two Illinois Lottery Winners, including a Homer Glen resident, on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against the lottery for stopping payments of cash prizes because the legislature and governor have failed to agree on a 2015-16 state budget. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago by... READ MORE

Franks' Legislation for Limiting Creation of New Taxing Bodies is Signed into Law

September 1, 2015 - The Woodstock Independent

Legislation introduced by State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) placing a moratorium on the creation of new taxing bodies in Illinois is now law. Franks introduced House Bill 228 earlier this year in an effort to stop the creation of new taxing bodies and freeze the expansion of government in Illinois. “It’s no coincidence that Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the country and more units of local government than any other state,” Franks said in a news release. “Our property tax bills have become an ever-growing list of bureaucratic... READ MORE

Illinois Budget Standoff Grinds On as State Finds a Way to Cope

August 27, 2015 - Bloomberg Business

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, two of the most powerful politicians in Illinois, have been trying to outlast one another in a dispute that for two months has left the nation’s lowest-rated state without a budget. Illinois muddles through. Government employees get paid, thanks to court orders. Children go to school, thanks to Rauner’s signing an education-funding bill. The state fair went on last week as scheduled and the governor signed a bill Aug. 14 designating pumpkin as the official pie. The veneer of normalcy belies... READ MORE

GOP dismisses Madigan’s comment on members “whispering” about tax increases; and more from INN Radio

August 14, 2015 - Illinois News Network

GOP dismisses Madigan’s comment on members “whispering” about tax increases Illinois’ leading Democrat says Republicans are whispering in the hallways about tax increases while not giving the idea any public airing. During a press conference Wednesday, Speaker Michael Madigan was asked why he won’t use majority Democrats to pass tax increases to fund the state at the levels sought by Democrats. The Speaker contends he is open to what he believes is the need for new revenue. However, Madigan said others at the statehouse aren’t so forthright. “I’ve said that publicly, I’m not hiding on this. You can find a lot of Republicans here in the Capitol building that will whisper to you ‘oh, we know that we need new revenue.’ They whisper... READ MORE

Bruce Rauner signs bill forbidding Illinois lawmakers from creating new local governments

August 14, 2015 - Northwest Herald

A new law signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will ban state lawmakers for the next four years from approving any legislation creating a new level of local government. House Bill 228, filed by Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, forbids the General Assembly from enacting any bill that either creates a new type of local government or allows an existing government to split into two. Franks said it is a small but important step in reining in out-of-control property taxes and improving accountability to voters. He estimated at least 50 to 60 bills have been filed in recent years to create new local governments. “We needed to stop letting people keep digging... READ MORE

Illinois School Superintendent receiving perks that 'nobody else gets'

August 5, 2015 - FOX NEWS 32

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Illinois is drowning in red ink, but that didn't stop the State Board of Education from handing out a contract full of pricey perks, which includes seven weeks’ vacation to the state's new school superintendent... WATCH CLIP

Tier Two Tony

July 29, 2015 - River Bender

Depending on your view, lawmakers are either diligently protecting the public's dimes or they're browbeating the new administration's appointees. Tuesday's example: a House committee hearing into the contract signed by the Illinois State Board of Education and its new superintendent, Tony Smith. State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee, says he was shocked to read in a newspaper that Smith is receiving a stipend to make up for the fact that, as a new hire, he's ineligible for the old and more generous Tier I pension system. “Are you at all concerned,” Franks sniffed, “that the rank-and-file educators will see this stipend that the retirement benefits that they receive are not good enough for the state superintendent?” “The... READ MORE

Illinois House passes bill to repeal pay raise for state legislators

July 28, 2015 - Northwest Herald

The Illinois House approved legislation Tuesday that would repeal the 2 percent automatic cost-of-living adjustment that lawmakers recently received and is set to take effect this month. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan was the lead sponsor for House Bill 576, which passed the Illinois House on Tuesday with a 101-1 vote. The vote followed a tense floor debate during which Republicans asked Madigan why their own efforts months ago to block the raise never were allowed to come to a vote. Madigan said the raise is just a small piece of what he called a “historic struggle” between the... READ MORE