OAK BROOK- Illinois will now have a useful tool to start consolidating 6,963 units of governments, thanks to Villa Park Democrat, Tom Cullerton.
Cullerton's bipartisan government consolidation measure, Senate Bill 3 that will empower government entities throughout the state to consolidate units of local government, was signed into law today.
"We ran a tight ship for taxpayers when I was Villa Park Village President. I'm taking the lessons I learned to the state level," Cullerton said. "The goal here is to reduce property taxes, save vital taxpayer dollars and make sure government is working for the people. Senate Bill 3 does just that."
Senate Bill 3 will go into effect January 1, 2018.
Cullerton passed Senate Bill 494 in 2013, which created the DuPage County government consolidation model used in Senate Bill 3. He was later able to expand this model to McHenry and Lake counties, and Senate Bill 3 will expand the same powers to counties throughout Illinois.
County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Cullerton worked together to create an innovative bipartisan government consolidation model that can be easily adapted to work throughout the state. Counties and government entities based on their needs can consolidate redundant and obsolete forms of government.
"This legislation allows local communities and their elected officials to make decisions about the size, scope and cost of their own local government," Cronin said. "Most importantly, it will change the culture and foster innovation."
DuPage County's successful government consolidation model is expected to save taxpayers more than $100 million over the next 20 years.
"It's our duty to work together to explore every way we can save taxpayer dollars," Cullerton said. "I'm proud of the work Chairman Cronin and I did to expand DuPage County's government consolidation model throughout the state."
The savings allow for lower property tax rates and provide residents with necessary services
"Cutting bloated bureaucracy and redundant forms of government means lower property tax bills for Illinois residents," Cullerton said. "This new law gives Illinois taxpayers a voice in eliminating redundant and ineffective units of government."
Cullerton says the next step in consolidating government waste is to eliminate the office of the lieutenant governor. This move would save the state $1.6 million annually which Cullerton believes would help pay for social services such as the DuPage County Meals on Wheels program and other similar programs throughout the state.
Since Cullerton has been in office, he has supported eliminating the position under both a republican and democratic governor. He believes the money would be better spent and services can be better executed without duplicate forms of government.
"We are in the middle of tough times," Cullerton said. "It is hypocritical to continue to ask local governments to cut and eliminate units of government when the state government isn't willing to do the same."
Under the current administration, Illinois taxpayers are paying for two deputy governors and a lieutenant governor.
Despite the fact Cullerton's plan, was endorsed by editorial boards throughout the state, he was unable to receive bipartisan support on his measure. Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 29 did not receive a single republican vote.
Cullerton is the Senate sponsor of HJRCA6 and plans to advance the legislation once Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) passes the measure in the House.