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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2000

Governor's Report On Accountability Eliminates Boards, Streamlines Government Agency Regulations Of Business

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today accepted the first report of recommendations of the state’s Government Accountability Council, which proposed the elimination of boards, commissions and hundreds of administrative rules in an effort to improve the operations of Illinois’ executive agencies.

"This report addresses the need for continuous improvement in the state’s use of technological innovation, economic development tools, and customer service methods," Ryan said. "What we wanted from the Council was substantive proposals on state personnel issues, such as linking professional development to career advancement; and that’s exactly what we got. Now we can move on those recommendations."

In his State of the State address, the Governor commended the Office of Statewide Performance Review for recommending the termination of dozens of obsolete and inactive boards and commissions. "I challenged them to look at every program, every regulation in state government," Ryan said. "We’re determined to cut government and make it work better, because here in Illinois, it’s time for government speak the way our people do–in plain English."

The Council’s first report, delivered by Ed Noha, Council Chair, contained findings and recommendations on the delivery of state services with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.

Noha noted that in the area of state regulatory review and reform, significant accomplishments were made. Each of the 41 agencies under the performance review were asked to assess their administrative rules and determine whether or not they were contradictory to other provisions, obsolete or achieving the intended result. All agencies were required to either amend or repeal procedures, which were found unnecessary or counter-productive.

In the end, more than 638 pages of the Illinois Administrative Code have been recommended for repeal, representing more than 42,000 lines of code. An additional 411 sections of the code will be amended for greater clarity. "This is a key first step," said Noha. "The toughest part of delivering good services to your customer is getting your own house in order. This is how government turns the corner and starts focusing on offering better services to the taxpayer."

The report also contains a state agency program performance review. This section of the report was derived from findings by the Governor’s Office, and ranks the agencies according to their first year’s effort to adopt strict performance standards.

The second year of the Statewide Performance Review will include work to streamline government, assist state agencies in focusing on their core functions and help measure success toward stated goals. The Council will meet in the near future to set its agenda for 2000. Already targeted for examination are the state’s elementary, secondary and higher education systems.

Ryan noted that making government work better is the hallmark of creating a competitive state in the New Economy. The regulatory streamlining recommended by the Council will help Illinois small businesses, another backbone of the New Economy.

"Many of the recommendations are aimed at improving the Illinois business climate," Ryan added. "Others will reduce the difficulty citizens and businesses face when interacting with or receiving services from the state. These changes can help us in our efforts to continue to grow our economy, and to attract and retain high-paying jobs in Illinois."

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Executive Summary

Executive Summary of Findings and Recommendations

With the establishment of Executive Order #7 on March 10, 1999, Governor Ryan created the State Government Accountability Council and the Office of Statewide Performance Review. This powerful executive order opened a strong, direct communication link between the Office of the Governor and the private sector, and began the daunting process of placing all executive branch agencies on a performance-based management system.

The State Government Accountability Council was appointed on June 11, 1999. Composed of business leaders, academicians, former government officials, private citizens and others, the Council reviewed a broad array of state issues to select the subject matter that would serve as the focus of its efforts during 1999.

To expedite the fact-finding process, the Council divided itself into task forces that could work independently to develop recommendations for the full Council. The task forces included the following: Regulatory Review and Reform, Service Delivery, Customer Service, Asset/Liability Management, Economic Development, State Personnel, and Technology. Over the course of three months, the task forces conducted numerous agency on-site visits, interviews, focus groups, and other techniques for assessing the current state of affairs and the need for change.

During October, the Council met to receive the recommendations of its task forces. The recommendations were broad in scope and provided numerous proposed changes in state governmental operations. Many of the recommendations speak to improving the Illinois business climate. Others seek to reduce the difficulty citizens and businesses face when interacting with or receiving services from state agencies. A variety of recommendations were received which create a blueprint for embedding customer service goals in the fabric of state government; other recommendations provide strong suggestions on how Illinois can excel by taking advantage of technological innovation. After the task force presentations, the Council members gave final approval to the inclusion of the specific recommendations in a year’s-end report to Governor George Ryan.

While the Council reviewed those state issues it believed could be impacted immediately, the Office of Statewide Performance Review (OSPR) conducted a series of program reviews and agency interviews. In establishing a system of performance management, the OSPR focused squarely on the issues of management capacity, program performance measurement, and the structure and location of program administration. Additionally, the OSPR worked with the various agencies to conduct a review of administrative rules and boards and commissions on the basis that these areas impacted the establishment of a performance management system.

Taken together, the Council recommendations and the OSPR agency assessment provide both an excellent evaluation of the viability of Illinois state government and the changes necessary to make Illinois a true leader among the 50 states.

While the Council and the OSPR made a great start in 1999, much more remains to be done. To put it bluntly, we have barely started to scratch the surface. The following pages of this summary briefly present some of the more important recommendations contained in the report.

Government Accountability Proposals

  • State to Get Handle on Properties
    • The Attorney General should hold all land and building titles, and Central Management Services should be required to track total acreage owned by the state, by agency, as well as the condition and use of the land.
    • The Administration should study the option of using private real property managers to lease unused land and manage state office space.
  • Illinois Makes Customer Service Heart of State Government
    • Embed customer service into the corporate culture of state government through use of a meaningful service philosophy and principles, including signage in customer areas and printing the philosophy on all state business cards.
  • Customer Service Training Program Key to Success
    • Create reliable and consistent customer service experiences through a new central training facility providing state employees with a structured, ongoing customer service training program focused on telecommunications, written communications (postal and e-mail) and "front desk" customer interaction.
  • One-Stop Help Desk the Answer
    • Study consolidating all existing hotline numbers into a single, customer service hotline, with each agency/program paying a fair share for the service.
    • One-stop customer service hotline can be an activity performed by the centralized customer service training facility (see Customer Service Training Program Key to Success above)

Regulatory Relief Proposals

  • Temporary License Cuts Red Tape for Out-of-State Professionals
    • Department of Professional Regulation should be allowed to grant provisional endorsements (temporary licenses) to out-of-state applicants whose current license is in good standing, and the department must also have an automatic repeal power for provisional endorsements should the application be denied.
  • Health Facilities Have Fewer Bars on Expansions, Purchases
    • Eliminate non-clinical projects and purchases from the Certificate of Need process and reduce the hospital regulatory burden by 23 percent.
  • State Offers Combined Quality and Reimbursement Review
    • Combine the Department of Public Aid federal reimbursement review and the Department of Public Health quality assurance review into a single review, saving time and money.
  • One-Stop Permitting Process for Business
    • Businesses regulated by multiple state agencies will benefit from a team permitting approach where a single application, review and determination can be made, saving both industry and the state money and time.

Tax Relief Proposals

  • State Consolidates Business Tax Returns: Everyone Wins
    • Reduce the number of tax returns businesses are required to file with the Departments of Revenue and Employment Security to save business money through reduced paperwork; save the Department of Revenue money through reduced paperwork, a more even workload and improved accuracy of error notices; and save the Department of Employment Security money through a reduction in processing costs.

  • State Guarantees Taxpayers’ Rights in Local Tax Disputes
    • Implement a Local Government Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights requiring local governments (including home rule) that impose locally administered taxes to meet minimum fairness standards in the administration of the taxes, and require local governments to file copies of taxing ordinances with the Department of Revenue.

  • State "Throws Back" Profits to Small Business
    • Eliminate the "throwback rule" requiring businesses to pay Illinois tax on sales in other states that are not taxed in those states. The rule primarily impacts small and medium-sized businesses that do not have a taxing presence (nexus) in another state where a sale may be made.

  • Inject Common Sense into State’s Tax Penalty System
    • Bring the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act into line with the IRS and Illinois’ neighboring states. The state must stop calculating interest on top of the penalty, end the penalty for not filing when no tax is owed, reduce the late tax penalty from 20 percent to 10 percent, eliminate the late penalty for underpaying estimated taxes made in "good faith," and adopt a statute of limitation.

  • Illinois Ends Anti-Illinois Tax Practice
    • Create a temporary storage exemption for tangible personal property so that Illinois businesses that purchase property from Illinois vendors to be shipped/used in other states can also use an Illinois distribution center without paying Illinois sales/use tax.

  • State Picks Up Tab for Courts; Property Taxpayers Get Relief
    • The state should pay for some or all of the local property tax levy used to support the operations of local courts since the state largely drives the application of judicial mandates at the local level, and the state can provide real property tax relief to homeowners at the same time.

Streamlining Government Proposals

  • Consolidate Receivables Collections in Department of Revenue
    • Consolidate receivables collections within the Department of Revenue (DOR) because the department is the state’s permanent collections agent. Individual agencies can seek payment for the first 120-day period (three 30-day notices) which will recoup the vast majority of money owed. After 120 days, receivables could be transferred automatically to DOR for collection action. This would allow the individual agencies to rid themselves of duplicate collection efforts. DOR could be allowed to keep a percentage of the amount collected to defray costs and be allowed to sell receivables that are no longer efficient to collect.

  • Consolidate Senior Services in One Agency
    • The Circuit Breaker program falls outside Department of Revenue’s (DOR) mission. The Department on Aging (DOA) is viewed by the public as "all things senior citizen." Locating the program in DOR is counter intuitive to the citizenry who would expect to find the program at DOA. This reorganization would make sense to the public and provide seniors with a "one stop shop" approach to senior services. Additionally, the Senior Health Insurance Program, or at least the customer service portion, should also be transferred from the Department of Insurance to the Department on Aging.

  • Consolidate Gaming Regulation into One Agency
    • Combine all gaming regulation and oversight into one State Gaming Commission. Several agencies currently have responsibility for various slices of gaming in Illinois. The Department of Lottery, Department of Revenue, Gaming Board, Horse Racing Board, and the Department of Professional Regulation all have one or more gaming functions they regulate. It appears that all interested parties would easily benefit from a consolidation of gaming responsibilities.

  • Consolidate Truck Regulation Enforcement
    • Transfer the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) police and enforcement duties to the Department of State Police. The ICC is responsible for ensuring carriers carry sufficient liability insurance coverage and has 11 ICC police to enforce the law. In fiscal year 1999, the average number of citations issued per officer was 4.5 per week. The State Police could easily enforce this law as part of their normal safety inspection procedure when stopping a truck. This consolidation would eliminate an unnecessary duplication of police powers.

  • Consolidate Criminal Investigations in Department of State Police
    • Transfer Department of Revenue’s (DOR) criminal investigations to the Department of State Police (DSP). The specialized activities of the Investigations Unit are more compatible with the activities and responsibilities of DSP. Once DOR makes a determination that a criminal case will be brought against a taxpayer, the State Police should handle the case and prepare for bringing it forward for trial.

Office of Statewide Performance Review
Executive Summary

 

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