That’s the headline of an article written by Jack Franks published in today’s Northwest Herald, a headline with which I am in full agreement.
Franks goes on, however, to fully distort what I’m trying to accomplish with the trailer bill I’ve introduced, House Bill 4190, which would require a cost analysis to be completed before any referendum consolidating road districts into and under township government could be put on the ballot.
In 2015, an effort was made by the McHenry County Board to put the issue of township consolidation on the 2016 primary ballot. The measure was defeated, and as I wrote at the time:
“I’ve said all along that I don’t know if consolidation would lower taxes or raise them, but I could not support putting the measure on the ballot unless the proponents made their case. They didn’t. I couldn’t support a leap of faith to change things from what they are now on the strength of some vague promise that their claims would prove to be correct.”
This has been my message all along, consolidation may save money. If it does, then I’ll be the first to support it. But it’s up to the proponents of consolidation to prove their case. Bob Anderson has been outspoken about what I’ve done, saying that I’m in the pocket of local township officials and road commissioners. But the next time you see Bob, ask him if I’ve ever been anything but consistent on making that point, because I’ve had many conversations with him about it and my position has never wavered. He’s never disagreed.
The Chairman says that H.B. 4190 throws another roadblock in the way of consolidation. It seems to me that those who favor consolidation only want voters to judge the issue on the basis of the facts they’re willing to give them. My position is that this “roadblock” might be the only thing keeping local government from driving over a cliff.
Chairman Franks goes on to say that my bill is “undemocratic” and is based on the fact that I think “the electorate has to be protected from itself” He says that it’s a “political literacy test [to] ensure that voters and officials they elect are intelligent enough to know what they want”.
Quite the contrary. A “literacy test”? Far from it. I trust the voters more than he does, because I know they’re “literate” enough to judge all the facts when they’re put before them. Wanting to deny full disclosure before we move toward larger and more centralized government is the mark of someone who thinks he knows better as to how to protect the electorate than they themselves do. It’s also coming from someone who’s now in a position to influence the direction that County government will ultimately take. In short, it’s patronizing and terribly opportunistic.
And since Chairman Franks saw fit to brand me as a something that I’m not, I feel obliged to set the record straight on a few other items he brought up.
He says I was silent on the matter of the 32% tax increase passed this year over the Governor’s veto. If he cares to check the record, he’ll see that I voted against the increase and voted against the override. I even posted a little video discussing the issue.
He also can’t avoid thumping his chest over being on two “blue ribbon” commissions to explore consolidation. I wrote about this back in 2015, when I examined the Chairman’s participation on one of those commissions. I found that of the 16 meetings held, he missed 8 of them and phoned it in on 5 others. On the May 20, 2015 meeting which he missed, causing a lack of a quorum, I wrote:
“And what was supposed to be done on May 20? Before the lack of a quorum was discovered, the Task Force voted to enact a 4-year moratorium on creating new local governments. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the recommendation is based on HB 228, introduced by none other than…wait for it… Rep. Jack Franks. Franks wasn’t there to vote on his own recommendation, and his absence caused a lack of the quorum necessary to allow it to pass!”
It’s not my style to run to a microphone or issue a press release every time the wind shifts. I would think that the people of this district would find that to be refreshing. What I do care about is doing the best I can to protect the interests of the people of the 63rd District, and if that means demanding a closer look at an issue that has yet to be fully fleshed out, then that’s what I’ll do. I’ll end this post as it began: I’m fully in favor of any measure that will lower taxes and maintain needed services. But if you want my support, prove it.