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.







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

Lawmakers want new state school leader's special perk taken away

July 28, 2015 - Chicago Tribune

State lawmakers are pushing the Illinois State Board of Education to take away a special stipend given to new state schools Superintendent Tony Smith that was awarded to make up for his reduced pension, a deal that outraged some educators and taxpayers. The annual stipend, which could be worth about $11,000 or more on top of Smith's $225,000 salary, provoked a special legislative hearing Tuesday on Smith's contract, after the Tribune revealed the perk in a story this month. "Taxpayers deserve to know who is responsible for approving the stipend in conflict with the intention of the law," said Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks, chairman of the House State Government Administration... READ MORE

Drop off Cell Phones for Soldiers at state Rep. Jack Franks' Woodstock office

July 28, 2015 - Northwest Herald

WOODSTOCK – Jack Franks wants your gently used cell phones. The state representative announced Tuesday that he is partnering with Cell Phones for Soldiers to make his Woodstock-based district office a permanent drop-off location for used cell phones. Franks' office is at 1193 S. Eastwood Drive. Cell Phone for Soldiers is a nonprofit organization that provides cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. The organization donates the used phones it collects to Mindful eCycling to be recycled. Profits from that are used to buy prepaid international calling cards for American soldiers serving overseas... READ MORE

Pay for State School Boss Examined

July 21, 2015 - River Bender

WLawmakers are continuing their summer project – figure out why people in the governor’s administration are paid what they’re paid. This time, they’re looking into state school superintendent Tony Smith – who makes $225,000 annually, plus a $500 a month vehicle stipend and gets seven weeks paid vacation. The State Board also pays Smith’s member pension contribution, which is nearly 10 percent of his salary. State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) thinks that’s unfair.“The irony is rich,” Franks says, noting there are hearings underway to cut pension benefits for first responders and front line state workers. “It’s hypocritical and it’s wrong, it never should have occurred... READ MORE

Franks: Tough times call for new ideas, not empty rhetoric

July 18, 2015 - Northwest Herald

With the state of Illinois facing severe fiscal challenges, we regularly hear from politicians on both sides of the aisle that “tough choices” have to be made. Reform proposals are then usually described in vague terms, with pledges to reduce spending, cut wasteful programs or make certain groups “pay their fair share.” Unfortunately, Illinois taxpayers simply cannot afford continued avoidance of the dangers we face. Our state has more than $5 billion in unpaid bills and often takes more than 12 months to reimburse providers, many in our own communities, for their services. Illinois taxpayers bear the second-highest property tax burden in the country, paying more every year to local governments. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Eugene Fama, the methods used to calculate Illinois’ often-cited $100 billion pension debt are filled with rosy assumptions... READ MORE

Our View: Slap in face finally comes down

July 11, 2015 - Northwest Herald

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down: Thumbs up: To South Carolina state leaders for finally deciding to stop flying the Confederate flag over the Statehouse. Truthfully, there are far more important issues when it comes to race in the U.S., but the flag was a slap in the face to many for too long. The Civil War always will be a tragic and important part of U.S. history, but it’s inappropriate for a state government to symbolically stay on the wrong side of history with this display. Thumbs up: To the at least four potential candidates mulling their involvement to replace retiring Republican state Rep. Mike Tryon. Every election season, it seems we’re asking for people to get involved in whatever level of government they are interested in because of a lack of candidates. It’s good to see multiple candidates instead of one... READ MORE

Rauner, Democrats far apart as ‘mess’ of shutdown looms

June 30, 2015 - Chicago Sun-Times

A political impasse in Springfield intensified between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled Legislature Tuesday as a deadline to avoid a government shutdown came and went with nary a hint of compromise between the two sides. Rauner vetoed a series of budget bills last week required to keep state services funded. With no operating budget in place, an Illinois government shutdown was expected to begin to take hold Wednesday, the start of the new fiscal year. Democrats were expected to vote Wednesday on a $2.2 billion, one-month budget to fund select, critical services, but lawmakers raised doubts that the House could find the 71 votes needed to advance the measure. That could end... READ MORE

Woodstock Celebrates July 4th with Fireworks, Patriotic Concert

June 29, 2015 - The Woodstock Independent

The Woodstock Fireworks Committee has been busy planning this year's fireworks show, scheduled to begin at dusk Saturday, July 4, at Emricson Park, 900 W. South St. The committee estimates upwards of 7,000 people attend the annual event. “We expect this to be about a half-hour long show,” said Jim Campion, who has served on the all-volunteer committee for the past 20 years. As in years past, Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions, Crown Point, Ind., will present this year's pyrotechnic display. The company shoots the fireworks off from the east side of Emricson Park. Most... READ MORE

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