Springfield, IL. State Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) filed legislation Wednesday (Feb. 13) to ensure local government consolidation puts taxpayers first.
Senate Bill 1567 contains specific taxpayer protection clauses to protect residents if any local government consolidation decisions are made.
The bottom line for government consolidation is that voters have the ability to choose the level of government they are comfortable with and how much of it they can afford, said Wilcox. At the same time, there needs to be protections for taxpayers so that they are the primary beneficiaries of any smarter, smaller or more efficient government that consolidation brings.
Key provisions of SB 1567 include;
- Only taxpayers within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county. Protects other county taxpayers.
- Assets of the dissolved township or road district, especially if liquidated, must be used solely for the benefit of residents of the geographic area within the former boundaries of the township. Protects the taxpayers who previously paid the taxes allowing a township to acquire those assets.
- Ensures that counties or municipalities will receive Motor Fuel Tax dollars that were dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. Protects local taxpayer dollars, as part of a dissolved townships lane mile Motor Fuel Tax account from being redistributed state-wide.
The overall goal of government consolidation is to save taxpayers money, said Wilcox. But, it must be fair and equitable. Under my legislation, if a township decides to dissolve itself into the county, the taxpayer dollars paid by those township residents must be for their benefit. At the same time, the contractual obligations of the consolidating township including its debt is solely the responsibility of that township and should not become a burden put onto the people of the entire county.