CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will help make local governments more efficient. Two of the laws will help to consolidate, reduce waste and increase efficiency in the DuPage County government. Another new law will help to lessen barriers for voluntary school district reorganization statewide. These actions are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to make local government more efficient and responsive to taxpayers.
“Since I took office, I have made identifying areas of government where we can root out waste, reduce costs and improve services a top priority,” Governor Quinn said. “Today we are doing more with less than ever before. These laws are another important step toward increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of government.”
Senate Bill 494, sponsored by State Senator Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park) and State Representative Deborah Conroy (D-Villa Park), sets up a process by which the DuPage County Board can eliminate duplicative or inefficient units of local government. DuPage County has more than 400 separate taxing bodies, and this legislation establishes a public process through which these bodies can be consolidated and their functions assumed by similar entities. The new law takes effect immediately.
“Today’s bill signing gives us the opportunity to be more efficient and save taxpayer dollars,” DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin said. “It is not just the right thing to do, in my mind it is the only thing to do. I hope to make this county the laboratory for designing a business model for smaller more efficient government. Someday what we are doing here could be done across the state to save many millions and streamline local governments in Illinois.”
“An overly complicated and unnecessary web of local and county services helps no one,” Senator Cullerton said. “By streamlining government services we will reduce the cost to taxpayers and improve the quality of those services.”
“This bipartisan bill gives DuPage County the opportunity to be a leader on the path toward more efficient and responsible government,” Representative Conroy said. “Families continue to struggle and are paying more than ever in taxes. In times like these, it is our responsibility as elected officials to ensure government is as efficient as possible and that wasteful spending is eliminated.”
House Bill 2267, sponsored by State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Decatur), implements several of the recommendations of the Classrooms First Commission. The new law’s provisions allow non-contiguous school districts to reorganize and to operate a cooperative high school. The law also allows districts with fewer than 750 students to dissolve without a referendum either through a school board resolution or a petition signed by a majority of the district’s registered voters. The new law takes effect immediately.
“As schools throughout Illinois are facing tighter budgets, lawmakers have a responsibility to make it easier for school boards to make smart financial decisions,” Representative Gordon-Booth said. “I will continue to push for legislation that gives local school boards and communities more flexibility to meet their needs and invest in their students.”
“My children attend school in a small district. I know how important local control is when it comes to our kids’ education,” Sen. Manar said. “Decisions regarding consolidation or dissolution should be made at the local level, not by the General Assembly. This law not only protects our small schools, it also protects local control of our schools.”
Governor Quinn also today signed House Bill 1045, which extends the due date for the final report of the Local Government Consolidation Commission to September 30, 2013. The original deadline was December 31, 2012.