by Long Hwa-shu
An Illinois House bill to let voters to decide whether to abolish townships, co-sponsored by State Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake), has been overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives, underlining the public sentiment against too much government, waste of taxpayers’ money and duplicity of services.
Whether voters will eventually be able to eventually do away the townships, called archaic and another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy in some quarters, is up to the Senate, where an uphill battle is anticipated.
The only people that oppose my bill are township officials who hold lucrative and cushy jobs.” – State Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) heads the House committee on government consolidation
Yinging who is on his third term in the House said he personally experienced the wastefulness of township government since he had served as supervisor of Avon Township for four years before he was elected to the House in 2012.
“I became concerned by the amount of sheer waste of the township government,” said Yingling who last year introduced House Bill 4510 to expand the consolidation power of local governments, made use successfully by DuPage County to eliminate duplicate government units to save money.
“The only people that oppose my bill are township officials who hold lucrative and cushy jobs,” said Yingling.
Services offered by townships, including road maintenance, tax assessment and senior support can be taken over by municipalities or the county, thus eliminating duplicity of services, abolishing another layer of bureaucracy and saving taxpayers’ money.
Yingling’s bill, however, failed to make to the Senate before the 2016 legislative session ended, effectively aborting the bill. He has reintroduced the bill under House Bill 3135 which he said is essentially the same. Meanwhile, he lent his support for House Bill 496 and became a co-sponsor.
Yingling, who heads a House committee on government consolidation, stressed consolidation and abolishing township governments, would bring much needed property tax relief.
“There’s a lot of interest against too much government,” he said.
Township officials are elected. There are 18 townships in Lake County. In fact, candidates for township offices are on Tuesday’s ballots.
House Bill 496, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), won bi-partisan support. The vote was 111 to two.
If the Senate should pass the bill, Gov. Bruce Rauner would likely sign it into law which would pave the way for the measure to eventually be put on the ballot and enable voters to decide on whether to abolish township governments.
Meanwhile, Rep. Yingling will be hosting a series of townhall meetings:
April 12 from 6 – 7 p.m., Round Lake Area Park District, 814 Hart Rd., Round Lake
May 3 from 6 – 7 p.m., Wauconda Park District, 600 N. Main St., Wauconda
May 6 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Grayslake Village Hall, 10 Seymour Ave., Grayslake.