As reported by WTTW-TV, the PBS-affiliated public television station in Chicago, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) has officially proposed prohibiting the creation of new local governments (cities, villages, etc.) in Illinois and allowing for the elimination of local governments via referendum:
Today, Gov. Rauner introduced a plan to reduce the number of local governments. He says it will save taxpayers billions of dollars every year, but some lawmakers say his plan has little chance of getting done.
The recommendations include:
- A moratorium on any new units of government
- Giving voters the ability to, via referendum, decide to eliminate or dissolve units of (government)
- Eliminating the prevailing wage on union projects, which would allow for lower wages
- Limiting collective bargaining for local government employees
As you can tell, two of those four proposals (specifically, the latter two of the above proposals) are clearly aimed at driving down wages in Illinois and stripping workers of their rights, which makes Illinois’s already broken economy even worse. Regarding the other two, one of them (the moratorium on new local governments) is clearly undemocratic, since I strongly believe that voters should have the right to create local governments, and the other one (allowing voters to eliminate or merge local governments via referendum) is something I would be open to supporting as stand-alone legislation (but not as part of a package proposal), depending on how it would actually work. While Rauner and his ilk think that suburban municipalities and townships in the Chicago area would be most likely to be consolidated or eliminated, the fact of the matter is that most consolidation of local government would take place downstate.
Not only is Bruce Rauner trying to undermine local control in Illinois, he’s also using his push to undermine local control to sneak in an anti-worker and anti-middle class agenda.