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Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force

Local Governements

Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force

 taxpayer sign

The Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force concluded on December 31, 2015, per executive order.

Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force Final Report.pdfLocal Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force final report  http://www.illinois.gov/ltg/issues/localgovernments/Documents/Local%20Government%20Consolidation%20and%20Unfunded%20Mandates%20Task%20Force%20Final%20Report.pdf

​Illinois currently has the most units of local government at nearly 7,000 units. That’s the highest in the country by more than 1,800 units. This is unacceptable. Too many layers of local government aids government corruption. It also contributes to why Illinois residents pay some of the highest local government taxes in the nation, including the 10th highest sales tax and 2nd highest in property taxes.

There are also hundreds of unfunded mandates placed on local governments in Illinois which cost taxpayers billions per year and make it harder for local governments to provide core government services to Illinois residents.

That is why on Friday, February 13, 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Executive Order – 15-15, which created the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force. The Task Force’s mission is to reduce the heavy burden on Illinois taxpayers by empowering citizens and government officials to streamline local government through consolidation and eliminating unnecessary state mandates.

The governor asked me to oversee the Task Force that will research and analyze all current laws regarding local government consolidation and unfunded mandates. It will then compile a report with specific policy and legislative recommendations and send them to the governor and the General Assembly by the deadline of December 31, 2015.

I am honored the governor asked me to oversee his Task Force. I will work with the Task Force to provide Illinois residents’ efficient, effective and streamlined government and education services.

Sincerely,

 Signature

Source: Will County News

Lobbyists & Administrators Win, Students & Taxpayers Lose

From:   Richard A. Goldberg, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs

To:       Members of the Illinois General Assembly

Date:   January 19, 2016

Re:       CSU: Lobbyists & Administrators Win, Students & Taxpayers Lose

 

Over the last few days, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle along with key university officials publicly agreed with the Administration that we must reform the way Illinois public universities spend taxpayer money.  University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said “he agrees with some of the concerns about excessive spending at public universities raised by an aide to Governor Bruce Rauner.”  Democratic Senator Bill Cunningham said “bills are in the works to deal with some of the issues raised by Goldberg.”

 

At the same time, however, some university officials continue to reject reform and would rather double down on a broken system that spends tuition money without accountability or transparency.  According to the Associated Press, Chicago State University spokesman Tom Wogan claimed the “characterizations of the state’s universities” contained in last week’s memo “do not fit 148-year-old Chicago State” because it doesn’t “have private jets, our president doesn’t have a country club membership.”

 

Mr. Wogan – a former aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan and operative for the Democratic Party of Illinois – must not remember an interview he gave to Fox 32’s Dane Placko just a few months ago in which he defended giving the university’s president a “spectacular mansion on historic Longwood Drive in Beverly” where the school “has paid more than $32-thousand dollars just for landscaping and sprinkler service alone since 2013.”  Recent reports of wasteful spending, corruption and low academic performance at Chicago State are plentiful.  Sadly, minority and disadvantaged students are among the worst served at Chicago State.

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Chicago State Is Failing Their Students

 

  • While 83% of white CSU students graduate in six years, only 19% of African-American students and 15% of Latino students do the same.  On average across Illinois public universities, white students have a 61% graduation rate while African Americans have a 39% graduation rate.  In Illinois, Chicago State has the second lowest graduation rate for African-American students (behind NEIU‘s 8% graduation rate) and the second highest graduation rate for white students (behind UIUC’s 87% graduation rate).

 

  • According to data from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Chicago State’s enrollment fell by 45 percent from 1996 to 2014.

 

  • For those full-time students who enrolled in 2006, 4% graduated in four years while 21% graduated in six years.  For those who enrolled in 2008, those numbers got worse: 2% graduated in four years, 19% graduated in six years.  According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, that puts CSU in the 2nd worst percentile nationwide.

 

  • According to a recent Brookings Institute study, Chicago State ranks in the 6th worst percentile for the average mid-career income of its graduate.

 

Financial Mismanagement and Misconduct

 

  • In November 2015, just a couple of months ago, a former Chicago State University Vice President was indicted for hiring her mother in a ghost payroll scheme.

 

  • In 2014, a jury awarded $3 million in back pay and damages to a former CSU employee who was fired by Chicago State’s former president in retaliation for reporting alleged misconduct by the president and others.

 

  • In 2013, Chicago State was fined $311,963 by the federal government for allowing failing students to remain enrolled and continue collecting federal student aid.  According to the Chicago Tribune, students with grades as low as 0.0 were allowed to register for classes, in part to boost enrollment.

 

  • According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago State doled out huge salary raises to school administrators.  The Tribune reported that former Chicago State President Wayne Watson fired CSU’s Vice President of Administration and Finance after the latter raised questions about the salary increases.

 

  • According to the Office of the Auditor General, during Chicago State’s most recent compliance audit, auditors found that the university could not locate $276,584 worth of university property.

 

Lobbyists and Administrators Win, Taxpayers Lose

 

  • According to the Secretary of State’s records, Chicago State employs two firms to lobby the state on the university’s behalf: Taylor K. Anderson and James A. Deleo & Associates.  At present, we do not have access to their contracts to assess compensation.

 

  • According to a 2013 Auditor General report, CSU had, by far, the highest ratio of administrators to students of any state university – one administrator for every 17.7 students.  The next highest was the University of Illinois system with one administrator for every 29.7 students.

 

  • According to the Auditor General, Chicago State spent 45 percent of its total payroll on administrators and 55 percent on faculty – the worst ratio of any state university.  The next highest was the University of Illinois system, which spent 31 percent of its payroll on administrators and 69 percent on faculty.

 

  • According to the Auditor General, Chicago State’s administrator salaries cost $3,609 per student – the highest of any state university.  The next highest was the University of Illinois system whose administrator salaries cost $2,960 per student.

 

  • According to the Auditor General, Chicago State had the second fewest students of nine state universities and university systems, but the third most administrators.

 

  • According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Chicago State spent $114,762 per undergraduate completion (degrees and certificate programs) in 2013 – significantly more than the $90,406 per completion average for all Illinois public universities and the $66,436 per completion average for all U.S. public universities.

 

The Way Forward

 

The General Assembly cannot turn a blind eye to the rampant financial mismanagement inside the university system that hurts academic performance and sends tuition costs skyrocketing.  Rather than creating a cash flow crisis by appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in General Revenue Funds for MAP or general higher education without accompanying spending reductions or cost-saving reforms, let’s find a sensible and responsible way to fund MAP and higher education by tying such funding to other spending reductions or cost-saving reforms.

 

 

 

Laura Roche

Legislative Affairs – House Liaison

Office of Governor Bruce Rauner

2M State House

Office: (217) 782-8658

Work Cell: (217) 722-4761

Laura.Roche@illinois.gov

 

Source: Will County News

College tuition goes up as government increases student Loans/ Waste gone wild

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR 207 STATE HOUSE

 

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS 62706                                                               BRUCE RAUNER GOVERNOR

 

 

From: Richard Goldberg, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs To: Members of the General Assembly Date: January 13, 2016 Re: Illinois Public Universities Need Reform Badly Over the last 14 years, Illinois public universities raised tuition rates by more than 200%, generating $1.5 billion in new revenue for their Income Funds. Unfortunately, the General Assembly has no control over each university’s Income Fund, no control over the spending that occurs within these funds, nor does it have the information needed to determine how fiscally responsible Illinois universities are with Income Fund revenue.

 

taxing

We encourage members of both sides of the aisle to ask Illinois public universities what reforms they are willing to adopt to cut waste, root out cronyism, improve outcomes and achieve savings of taxpayers money (e.g. cutting waste, procurement reform, pension reform, workers’ compensation reform).  Administrative Staff: According to the Senate Democratic Caucus’ “Investigative Report” on Executive Compensation at Illinois Higher Education Institutions: From 2004 to 2010, administrative staff at Illinois’ public universities increased 31.1%, while part-time and fulltime students increased a mere 2.3%. In FY11, the average student-to-administrator ratio for the nine universities was approximately 45 students for every one administrator. More than 1,500 university employees make more than the statutory salary set for the Governor. 

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Executive Compensation: According to the same report, university executive compensation includes a base salary, pension and health insurance, and in many cases, it includes some or all of the following: car and driver services, memberships to multiple country clubs and social organizations, performance bonuses, annuities, and retirement enhancements.  Golden Parachutes: Even when university leaders are forced to resign for misconduct, they are often treated to lavish golden parachutes. Illinois State gave fired President Timothy Flanagan $480,418 in severance after just 7 months on the job. The University of Illinois Office of the Governor January 13, 2016 attempted to pay fired Chancellor Phyllis Wise $400,000 in severance until public outcry led to a reversal.  Private Jets: According to The Southern, over the past two years, Southern Illinois University administrators spent more than $180,000 on in-house chartered airplane flights. Just last year, SIU spent $1,745.60 to fly legislators to a hearing opposing the Governor’s proposed budget savings.  Board Meetings: Between 2008 and 2014, spending on university Board meetings increased by nearly 70%. In 2014, the University of Illinois’ Board met 8 times for a total cost of $166,100. 

 

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Tuition and Fee Waivers: Despite increases in tuition costs, public universities increased the amount of money spent on discretionary tuition and fee waivers. In FY14, for example, Graduate tuition and fee waivers for all public universities totaled $341.1 million – close to the amount of savings proposed in the Governor’s FY16 budget.  Employee Pensions and Health Care: In FY15, taxpayers paid $1.5 billion to support the State University Retirement System (SURS) on behalf of higher education employees. In the past decade, the annual payment the state makes to SURS has increased by $1.3 billion or 466.8%. Meanwhile, the state picks up the tab for 85% of the public universities and community colleges’ contributions to Group Health Insurance (GHI). In FY14, that cost totaled $685 million; in FY15, that cost is expected to rise to $700 million or more.  Using State Funds To Lobby The State: Six Illinois public universities employ a combined eight lobbying firms to lobby state government. In the past, Eastern Illinois University paid Senator Dick Durbin’s wife $627,000 over a period of 13 years to lobby on the University’s behalf.

 

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As you can see, there is a need for a healthy and high-minded debate on how the university system spends the money the state provides and, more importantly, how it spends the money Illinois families are paying in tuition. As you know, appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in General Revenue Funds for MAP or general higher education without finding offsets – whether in the form of spending reductions or cost-saving reforms – could trigger a cash flow crisis in Illinois. Our office stands ready to work with any member of the General Assembly who wants to find a sensible and responsible way to fund MAP and higher education without triggering a cash flow crisis by tying such funding to spending reductions in other areas of GRF or one of many cost-saving reforms.

Source: Will County News

Press Release form N.W. Homer Fire District

Editor Note:   North West Homer Fire District is North of 151st between Will Cook and Archer. They are doing exactly what is asked for by the Homer Township Property Tax Referendum that is on the March 15th ballot, by putting the question to the people. I called Chief Fonfara for more information. Chief said the money was to be used to repair or replace Equipment that is in some cases over 30 years old, as well as building repairs. The Chief explained in detail the need. When I asked about labor costs, Chief explained that they have 8 Full time Union employees and also use part time and contract employees to keep cost down. Chief also said people are often confused by the fact that there are to separate taxing Fire Districts in Homer Township, N.W. Homer Fire District and Homer TWP. Fire District.  Homer TWP. covers North of 151st. The Property tax for Homer TWP. Fire District cost taxpayers way more than that of North West Homer Fire District. North West Homer Fire District has nothing to do with the voluntary Vehicle Sticker mailed out by Homer TWP. Fire Union. Most homes will pay between $60 and $90 increase for 4 years to the N.W Homer Fire district. Taxpayers need to weigh if they can afford the temporary increase for the 4 years to the value of the District needs. What makes this decision tough, is the cost of living in Homer is increasing while disposable income is dropping.On the other side, when you call the Fire Department you expect them to respond and take care of the problem.

 

download

Press Release

NORTHWEST HOMER FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

 

Looks to Enhance Services and Safety for the Community

 

On Election Day, March 15, the Fire District will ask the residents for a 9-cent temporary increase in their Fire Service Fees. This reflects about $30.00 a year for a $100,000 home for the next four (4) years.  Northwest Homer Fire District has been operating with one of the lowest rates in Will County for many years. The fiscal management team has been able to hold costs down. Now with the aging stations and vehicles the District calls on the community for help in keeping Northwest Homer Fire District prepared for the future.

Over the years, we continue to be fiscally responsible by maximizing additional revenue sources by applying for local, state and federal grants, ambulance billing and building/plan review fees. These revenue avenues are diminishing while the District is in need of more funds to maintain their superior service levels to the community.  Real estate taxes represent about 85% of all funding.

The last referendum received for the Northwest Homer Fire District was in 1980, which was 35 years ago.

 

If you have questions, you can contact

Chief Ken Vrba (kvrba@nwhomer.org),

Deputy Chief Todd Fonfara (tfonfara@nwhomer.org).

Like us on face book or visit our website.

Source: Will County News

Summary of Homer School District 33C Finance and Operations Committee Meeting

Summary of Homer School District 33C

Finance and Operations Committee Meeting

January 20, 2016

 

 

District 33C School Board:

Meeting Summary Report

 

 

 

Homer School Board

 

Barb Wilson, President

Angela Adolf, Vice President

Amy Blank, Secretary

Ed Campins, Member

Elizabeth Hitzeman, Member

Debra Martin,  Member

Russ Petrizzo, Member

Tim Rutter, member

 

 

       

 

 

 

John Reiniche, Assistant Superintendent for Business, presented the following to Committee members Angela Adolf and Russ Petrizzo:

 

  • A month-by-month look at the District’s Cash Flow and Fund Balances for the past five years. The high point was $43.6 million in September, 2013. Today, the District’s fund balance is around $14 million. The steady decline over the past five years is attributed to cutbacks in state aid as well as loan payments related to the construction of Young School and improvements at Schilling School. The loan is scheduled to be paid off this fiscal year. Administrators anticipated the reduction in fund balances (even though expenses have remained steady), calling it “deficit by design.” In May — just after the May 15th payroll and before the State of Illinois releases its second tax installment — the District is expected to reach a low point of $2.5 million in its fund balance. If the tax installment is received, the District’s fund balance is expected to rebound to $6.7 million on May 30th and $18.8 million in June. If the State of Illinois does not make payment, the District may need to issue Tax Anticipation Warrants (TAWs) to meet its May 15th payroll obligation. Reiniche is optimistic this won’t happen. The possibility of having to issue TAWs led to the discussion of what is the “right” fund balance for school districts to possess. Committee members indicated they would like to see at least 50 percent ($7.5 million) — a conservative fund balance that would give the District about two months of reserves to meet financial obligations at a time of low points in the cycle of tax payments. The committee plans to take the discussion to the full Board.

 

  • An update on the District’s work with PMA to create a five-year financial forecast. The forecast will project various scenarios, including changes in the State’s funding formula and a shift in pension costs. Recently, the Illinois State Board of Education proposed a new formula for funding lower poverty schools. The proposal calls for an elimination in funding for children requiring special education services (formally known as Sp Ed extraordinary) and rolling those dollars into General State Aid. If that happens, Homer 33C stands to lose more than $237,000 next school year.

 

  • A plan to meet with building principals to develop a five-year plan for facility repairs and maintenance. The Business Office and Buildings and Grounds Office also plan to audit custodial supplies to see if efficiencies can be created.

 

  • An update on the exploration of food service options. The District will survey parents, students and staff to see what they would like to see served in the schools and whether they would support healthier options.

 

  • A discussion regarding the frequency and format of financial reports. Reiniche will create a monthly dashboard for the Board, showing where the District stands in terms of revenues and expenditures. The dashboard will serve as a barometer for the District, indicating (through charts and graphs) whether revenues and expenditures are in line with previous years.

 

  • A discussion clarifying the Board’s request for information regarding student activity accounts. The Board has asked for a report on how much money is allocated for each before-school and after-school extracurricular activity, such as stipends and travel, and how much the District charges for participation. The goal is to make sure each extracurricular activity is treated equitably and relates to the District’s Future Ready initiative. Dr. Coglianese suggested a committee be formed to evaluate the numbers.

 

 

The Next Regular School Board Meeting is January 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Will County News