Editorial Roundup: Illinois

 
 
Posted4/12/2022 7:00 AM

Arlington Heights Daily Herald. April 8, 2022.

Editorial: Get it together, Illinois. Bill requiring taxing bodies to look at consolidation is a good start

 

You might have to reach for your glasses when you receive your property tax bill. The type needs to be pretty small in order to fit all of the taxing bodies you support onto a single sheet of paper.

There is the state of Illinois, of course, county, municipal and township government, park, forest preserve and library districts, school districts (elementary, high school, unit districts and community college districts), airport authorities, cemetery maintenance districts, fire protection districts, drainage districts, waterway agencies, hospital districts, soil and water conservation districts, sanitary districts and more.

You won't see all of these on your tax bill, but if you compare your bill to that of someone in a neighboring state, you'd certainly be envious.

The U.S. Census of Governments is compiling data for its every-five-year count of taxing bodies in each state. The results won't be available until next year. But the most recent study reveals some startling numbers.

In 2017, Illinois had 6,963 taxing bodies and roughly 13 million residents.

' The next closest was Texas at 5,147 taxing bodies -- but twice as many residents.

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' California had three times as many residents but just 4,425 local governments.

' Illinois had more than four times as many local governments as Florida, while the Sunshine State had 6 million more residents.

An analysis done by the Illinois Policy Institute notes that 61% of Illinois homeowners live under three layers of general purpose local government (municipal, township or county governments), and in 40 other states, residents never have more than two layers. In some areas of the state, people are paying 16 taxing bodies.

It's the overlap that is the most galling. We'd never advocate Illinoisans go without street maintenance, access to a library or fire protection, but the overhead involved in overlapping services in some cases and administration of these taxing bodies is beyond ridiculous.

We've long advocated for the sensible consolidation of taxing bodies in the suburbs, and in recent years we've seen a little movement in that direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Legislation that won wide bipartisan support is headed to Gov. JB Pritzker's desk. It requires local taxing bodies to review and report on their efficiency every 10 years and consider whether consolidating operations with another unit of government would achieve greater accountability and cost savings to taxpayers.

Let's hope the taxing bodies embrace the spirit of the law for the betterment of their constituents rather than worry about the potential loss of local political power.

___

Chicago Tribune. April 7, 2022.

Editorial: No one should have to die alone

Of all the horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic, few compare with the agony felt by family members who were forced by governmental regulation to let a stricken loved one die alone in a nursing home or hospital.

The right not to have to die alone, surely, is as fundamental a human right as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. None of us go on forever, but when we go, we deserve the comfort of someone we love holding our hand.

So we hail the bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 1405 on Wednesday, as sponsored in the Illinois House by state Rep. Chris Bos, R-Lake Zurich, and the Senate by Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, ensuring that what happened throughout Illinois (and beyond) in the spring of 2020 (and beyond) does not happen here again.

In essence, the bill says everyone has the right to a single loved companion in their final hours, not just a member of the clergy, whatever any executive order might say.

A couple of politicians in the House grumbled about usurping the authority of the governor, but that is a spurious argument. The constitution also limits the power of the governor, as well it should.

The bill does not obligate anyone to visit their loved one, and it allows nursing homes to establish and enforce safety guidelines, but neither they nor the executive order of any future governor will be able to prohibit a single visitor to a stricken soul.

This is merely common sense. Even in the darkest hours of the pandemic, people continued to receive in-person medical care from dedicated front-line professionals, who took the appropriate precautions. Family members should have been afforded the same option in someone's final hours. It was a terrible mistake to neglect that aspect of medical care, just because the likely provider was different.

But in many cases, the blanket rules usurped the love of family. Some caring medical professionals looked the other way, but that then forced them to break the law - a decision they should not have had to make.

The bill, which we urge Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign, will simply say this: Never again in the state of Illinois will you be denied a loved companion as you die, whatever the circumstances.

We will all rest easier knowing that is the case.

___

Chicago Sun-Times. April 8, 2022.

Editorial: General Assembly targets carjacking, and swift action is needed

The proposed laws are a good start in addressing the dangerous, and increasing, carjacking problem.

It's good to see state lawmakers stepping in this week with new proposed laws aimed at getting a handle on the region's growing carjacking problem.

Bills proposed Wednesday in both the state House and Senate would require automakers to work with police to help track stolen cars in real time by using the vehicle's telemetry.

Another House and Senate bill put forth earlier this week would ease fees and other public debt that can be racked up for car owners when a car is stolen.

That bill is accompanied by another proposed law that would make it easier for police agencies to work carjacking cases together, or create multi-jurisdictional task forces targeting the crime.

The bill would also offer state grants toward that purpose, according to the provision's sponsors.

'The sooner we know where the car is, the better'

The more intriguing of the proposed laws are the House and Senate bills that would require vehicle manufacturers to help police track stolen cars.

Cars built after 2015 essentially leave digital footprints captured by the vehicle's navigation and communication systems. Under the bill, police could quickly track a stolen car using this information - and with the owner's consent.

The law would also require automakers to provide police with information about tracking abilities enabled on cars, as specified by make, model and year.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has been talking to automakers for months about ways they could use technology to help reduce carjackings. He testified earlier this month on the issue before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

'In analyzing data on this crime, we know that the sooner we know where the car is, the better chance we have of finding the offenders and preventing the vehicle from being used in other crimes,' said Dart, who backs the bills and traveled to Springfield for the announcement.

State Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort) and State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) are the bills' sponsors.

A fair start toward addressing carjacking

We urge action on these bills, although we're concerned no potential funding sources - or price tag - for the state grants have been identified.

We also believe a federal car-tracking law might be an appropriate next step, given that carjacking is a nationwide problem.

But for now, we'll take what we can get. The bills aren't going to stop carjackings altogether, but they represent a pretty fair start to addressing this dangerous and alarming problem.

END

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