I am so glad that this is one of the priorities of the current administration and was very pleased to see the proposals and data contained within the report. However, now it is time for the General Assembly to actually take up the recommendations and get to work when we reconvene for the year! We have completed this step and now it's time to continue moving forward.
As most of you are aware of, property taxes are crushing Illinois residents, which is why a property tax freeze and structural reforms are so important. Now that the Task Force has delivered its recommendations to tackle the problems, we must take action as soon as possible. The recommendations in the report touched on some very important strategies; some are no brainers that we already knew, like making it easier for local governments to share equipment and cut costs. However, others are the major reforms that are needed to pave a way toward turning the state around.
The priority now shifts to the General Assembly to take up these recommendations when we reconvene. Though we were scheduled to convene this week, Speaker Madigan canceled session -- even amidst the lack of a state budget -- and the House will not be convening until January 27th. Illinoisans can’t wait any longer and I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in this effort.
Some legislation does already exist to tackle some of the recommendations offered in the Task Force’s report. For example, there is active legislation geared at unfunded mandates on school districts for P.E. and Driver’s Ed, however, the first hurdle is getting the bills out of the Speaker’s Rules Committee over which he has unilateral control.
To read the complete 406 page report delivered to the Governor by the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, click here. In the meantime, I hope you will stand with me in demanding that the Speaker allow these important proposals to be assigned to committee so that we can have the important debate these issues deserve!