Cut Taxes, Cut Waste: Abolish Township Government
You’ve heard me talk about the need to reduce the burden on taxpayers many times throughout this campaign. Illinois has more taxing bodies than any other state. We’ve got fixed-income seniors across this district afraid of losing their homes and hard-working families struggling to pay bills due to skyrocketing property tax bills (not to mention the recent sales tax increase brought to us by our very own DuPage Establishment “Republican” leaders). We’re paying property taxes through our noses even as we see our home values plummet. This is a wasteful burden we shouldn’t be saddled with in this economy (or any time!).
Frankly, one of the best ways to reduce this burden and help spark Illinois’ financial recovery is to eliminate one of these taxing entities. I’m calling for Illinois to abolish Township Government—due to its waste, ineffectiveness, and constant misuse of your hard-earned dollars.
Townships across the state have been collecting a portion of your property tax bill for years, without providing an equal amount of services back. In reality, these governments are simply a localized version of countywide government with similar programs and services. Most residents aren’t even aware of what Townships provide (many aren’t even aware they exist!), much less have any idea who the elected officials are.
There is no coincidence that the Trustees, Supervisors, and other Township employees want you to be blind to the business they conduct—or don’t conduct. Our Townships are filled with cronies who gladly earn a salary and generous benefits off of your hard work. It’s time for Republicans to stand for limited government once again—and put an end to Township government.
In the recent ABC-7 I-Team Report, the Better Government Association brought to light the corruption and waste housed within the walls of Township government. “Cronyism, nepotism, patronage...all in the service of taking care of friends and families and campaign contributors," said Andy Shaw, executive director, Better Government Association.
Townships across Illinois spend huge amounts of their budgets on salaries. For example, Berwyn Township spends 40% of their total expenditures on salaries; Bloom Township 47%; Calumet Township 46%; Norwood Park Township 45%; Schaumburg Township, 41%; Cicero Township, well, who knows. Cicero Township hasn’t filed their financials with the Illinois State Comptroller’s office. (Note: None of these percentages includes benefits!)
While Proviso Township isn’t the worst offender—25% of their budget goes to paying salaries (again, not including benefits)—according to the Better Government Association, Proviso Township could afford to operate one year without collecting taxes because they have a $4.5 million stockpile! All across Cook County, nearly $100 million has been collected and sits in cash accounts, unspent. No governing body should hold onto OUR money.
But that’s not the only problem with Townships. We have a similar problem with double dipping much like the pension system. Currently there is no stopping state legislators from holding positions in multiple levels of government. Three state elected officials hold posts in Springfield and their local townships, cashing in twice on lucrative salaries and benefits paid for by you!
We cannot continue to let this type of wasteful government to flourish in Illinois. The same services Township governments are mandated to do—road repair and temporary relief to the poor—could easily be transferred to County governments. Certainly, the non-mandated services Townships provide—such as throwing Valentine’s Day parties for seniors—could be eliminated. I think we could encourage our local churches or communities of faith to step up in this area.
By abolishing Townships, we’ll provide tax relief to everyone: seniors on fixed incomes, average families, and families going through rough times. You won’t hear the Establishment politicians calling for the waste to stop because they benefit from the cronyism and tax-payer funded patronage that Townships provide.