Consolidation Task Force Finishes Its Work
Illinois has more individual units of government than any other state. A report approved Thursday by a gubernatorial task force says that ought to change.
Recommendations in the report include:
- Eliminating the requirement that governments print public notices in newspapers
- Allowing citizens to use referenda to dissolve units of local government
- Repealing the prevailing wage that stipulates what construction workers get paid for government projects.
While the vote to finalize the report was unanimous, several members made a point of saying that doesn't mean they support everything in it.
Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, says she doesn't agree with all of the proposals, including the one on prevailing wage. But she's totally behind a suggestion that Illinois get a grip on rules the state imposes on towns and schools.
"One of the proposals, and probably my favorite, is the fact that all of the unfunded mandates that all of the municipalities are confronted with haven't been reviewed in like 28 years," she said. "Seriously, there are some things on there that aren't even relevant anymore to the way we do business. So I think we definitely need to do some updating there."
One requirement says that ink used for printing has to contain soybean extract.
Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, who chaired the consolidation task force, says she doesn't want the report to collect dust. She says she'll spend next year trying to implement the recommendations.
"Any sort of consolidation talks in the past, people would run and hide from the subject," she said. "But, right now, we're at a time of crisis fiscally, where people want to have these conversations so that we can look to streamline government."
The report won't be made public until later this month. Other recommendations include lifting driver education and physical education requirements in schools.