News Local/State

Local Government Consolidation Recommendations In Final Stages

Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti.

Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. Brian Mackey/WUIS

A task force is putting the finishing touches on a plan to streamline local government costs in Illinois.

One of Gov. Bruce Rauner's controversial ideas, is to give local governments the option to discontinue collective bargaining. That's something state law requires now.

The task force chaired by Rauner's lieutenant governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti has embraced the idea.

By the end of this year, Sanguinetti says the group will have a report published, with that and other recommendations for finding mandates that can be done away with, room for government consolidation, and cutting costs.

Next, is trying to turn that report into reality.

"For my office next year and beyond it will be about creating legislation with legislators based on our proposals and working to pass our proposals into law,” Sanguinetti said.

But Democrats who control the General Assembly say they won't allow unions to be stripped of their power. And critics of the task force say that's a lot of what its plans would do.

Consolidation of school districts has also proven difficult. Defenders of mandates say lawmakers put them in place for reason.

The Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force was created by an executive order of Gov. Rauner last February. Its members include State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) and University of Illinois Trustee and former Springfield mayor Karen Hasera.

A final meeting of the task force is scheduled for Thursday, December 17, at 11 AM at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.