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.







Franks: This is no time to listen to a speech and leave town

January 27, 2016 - Northwest Herald

In many ways, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s second State of the State Address echoed many of the sentiments from his first. He spent much of his roughly 40-minute address Wednesday afternoon again making the case for elements of his “Turnaround Agenda” that he says are needed to reverse Illinois’ economic woes, stem the tide of people and jobs leaving, and make the state more attractive to employers and much friendlier to taxpayers. What has changed since last year is a budget stalemate that is entering its eighth month because of an impasse between Rauner and the Democratic-dominated General Assembly. Rauner made clear in his address that a budget deal will not come without compromises that include fundamental reforms... READ MORE

Franks: Time to lock doors until budget is solved

January 20, 2016 - Northwest Herald

Illinois has more than 7,000 units of government; far more than any other state in the union. With so many taxing bodies, it’s no wonder Illinois also has some of the highest property taxes in the country and why we are paying more every year. As Illinois lags behind its neighboring states in some of the most important measures of economic development, government efficiency and quality of life, the distinctions of “most taxing bodies” and “highest taxes” aren’t titles to be proud of. Our property tax bills read like a laundry list of government bodies, each demanding more and more money every year. The first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging. That’s why this past year... READ MORE

Bill would limit government travel expenses

January 8, 2016 - Daily Herald

Calling it one way to rein in property taxes, Barrington Hills Republican state Rep. David McSweeney has introduced a bill that would limit travel expenses for local governments in Illinois. "There has been a lot of wasteful spending," McSweeney said. "And if government money is going to be allocated, then it should be clear what it's being spent on." Spurred by a series of Daily Herald reports on suburban officials' tax-paid reimbursements for lavish meals, travel costs and entertainment, McSweeney filed the bill that would prohibit using tax dollars to cover any entertainment expenses and limit amounts spent on other...READ MORE

Franks urging Bruce Rauner to call special session on Illinois budget

January 2, 2016 - Northwest Herald

State Rep. Jack Franks urged Gov. Bruce Rauner to call state lawmakers into special session and keep them there until a budget deal is reached. Illinois is now in its seventh month without a budget – Rauner and legislative Democrats who control the General Assembly cannot reach an agreement on a spending plan. The spring legislative session does not start until Jan. 13, and conventional wisdom in Springfield holds that a budget deal may not take place until after the March 15 primary election. Franks, D-Marengo, and other McHenry County lawmakers have called such a delay unacceptable. “Taxpayers cannot afford... READ MORE

Will anything get done in Springfield this election year?

January 1, 2016 - Daily Herald

Without a budget agreement in place from last year, Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers have a lot to do in this new year. But now it's an election year, a time when productivity in Springfield isn't at its highest as lawmakers prepare for elections and often avoid more controversial proposals. Experts say this election year is clearly different, but the result is unpredictable. Will the looming election apply the pressure to solve the long budget stalemate? Or will the interest in avoiding controversy drag things out a little longer? "What's happening now, there is no precedent," Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green said. "Anyone who says they know... READ MORE

No new local governments among 2016 new laws

December 27, 2015 - Daily Herald

The coming of a new year means 237 new state laws take effect on Jan. 1, with a full state budget not among them. Some new laws are serious reflections of the time, intended to combat police violence or the suburban measles outbreak of 2015. Others are not. Congratulations, Illinois. Starting in 2016, pumpkin is your new official state pie. Here's a sampling of some of the new laws that kick in Jan. 1. Measles The suburban measles outbreak that affected more than a dozen infants at a Palatine day care inspired... READ MORE

Illinois government consolidation task force moves forward with report

December 18, 2015 - Northwest Herald

A task force to reduce the number of Illinois government bodies has approved nearly 30 recommendations for a report that’s expected to be released later this month. The Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force headed by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti also was created to eliminate some unfunded mandates. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, is on the 25-member task force created by Gov. Bruce Rauner in February. “I think it sparked a lot of conversation that needs to be done,” Franks said Friday... READ MORE

Lawmakers Examine ISBE Pay

December 5, 2015 - Alton Daily News

After a while, you get the idea that you want to encourage your kids to become a state school superintendent or a former one. The Illinois State Board of Education's new superintendent, Tony Smith, has a compensation package that includes a salary north of $200,000, plus a car allowance, plus 35 vacation days, plus ten sick days, plus a $2,000 bonus if he uses fewer than five sick days. Two things stick in the craw of State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee. One is that Smith also has an $11,000 stipend intended to make up... READ MORE

'Piecemeal' appropriation bill passes House 107-1

December 2, 2015 - The News Gazette

SPRINGFIELD — There may be financial help on the way for local governments, 911 call centers, highway departments, lottery winners and domestic violence shelters. The Illinois House approved 107-1 an appropriation bill that provides long-awaited state funding for various programs and services. The Senate is scheduled to come to Springfield Monday to take up the legislation (SB 2039). But even supporters acknowledged Wednesday's vote was more "piecemeal" movement on a state spending plan. Legislators still haven't been able to agree to an overall state... READ MORE

McHenry County property taxes: Residents vote with their feet

December 2, 2015 - Northwest Herald

Property taxes drove Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Driscoll out of McHenry County, and will drive him out of Illinois altogether and into Texas when he retires at the end of the year. The property tax bill on his home in Lake in the Hills was $8,000 when he sold it – today the bill is now more than $10,000. Driscoll moved to a townhome in Lakewood, but moved again when his property tax bill hit $4,400. Driscoll doesn’t need official numbers to tell him he is far from alone in his decision to leave.... READ MORE

Jim Dey: Rauner piling more onto his loaded plate

December 1, 2015 - The News Gazette

Gov. Bruce Rauner's plate runneth over. But like everyone else whose eyes are bigger than his stomach, he's getting ready to pile up the victuals even higher. The state has been without a budget since June 30, and there are no signs of progress on that front as Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan continue their standoff. But come Dec. 31, Rauner and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will present legislators with a package of proposals aimed at saving money by consolidating local government and reducing... READ MORE

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