Soybean Ink, Drivers' Ed And The Prevailing Wage: Consolidation Task Force Finishes Its Work

Dec 17, 2015

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti chaired the local government consolidation task force, finished after months of work.
Credit City of Wheaton website

Illinois has more individual units of government than any other state. A report approved Thursday by a gubernatorial task force says that ought to change.

Eliminating the requirement that governments print public notices in newspapers, allowing citizens to use referendum to dissolve units of local government, and repealing the prevailing wage (which stipulates what construction workers get paid for government projects): These are the recommendations that'll be included in the report.

Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora, says she doesn't agree with all of them -- that prevailing wage one, for instance. But she's totally behind a suggestion that Illinois get a grip on rules the state imposes on towns and schools.

"One of the proposals, and probably my favorite, is the fact that all of the unfunded mandates that all of the municipalities are confronted with haven't been reviewed in like 28 years. Seriously, there are some things on there that aren't even relevant anymore to the way we do business. So I think we definitely need to do some updating there," she said.

One requirement says ink used for printing has to contain soybeans.

The report itself isn't public yet, but it will be by the year's end.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, who chaired the consolidation task force, says she doesn't want the report to collect dust. She says she'll spend next year trying to implement the recommendations.

"Any sort of consolidation talks in the past, people would run and ride form the subject. But right now we're at a time of crisis fiscally, where people want to have these conversations so that we can look to streamline government," she said.

The report won't be made public until later this month. Other recommendations include lifting drivers' and physical education requirements in schools.

While the vote to finalize the report was unanimous, several members made a point of saying that doesn't mean they support everything in it.