Can you believe it? Illinois lawmakers have advanced to the House floor a bill designed to decrease the size of government.
Granted, it would be a small decrease. It would allow Belleville Township to dissolve simply by votes of the Township Board and the City Council. The bill is written so narrowly that even East St. Louis and Granite City townships, which also have the same boundaries as the cities by those names, wouldn’t qualify.
Still, it is rare indeed for politicians, especially Democratic politicians, to agree to give up a unit of government, no matter how arcane or insignificant. Illinois has almost 7,000 units of local government, the most in the nation. To have this bill be sponsored by Democrat Rep. Jay Hoffman, make it out of the House Rules Committee, where bills are often sent to die, and clear the Counties and Townships Committee is truly amazing.
Let’s hope the bill keeps progressing and there aren’t traps set ahead to trip it up. Consolidating the city and the township would save the taxpayers money with no loss of public services. The politicians would lose a few jobs and elected offices, and that’s it.
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It’s the kind of thing that should garner bipartisan support, but just to be on the safe side, call your representative and senator and urge them to support House Bill 3693. It’s a small step, but at least it’s a step.