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Quinn OKs government consolidation bill

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a pilot government consolidation bill that supporters hope can one day be used statewide to pare the state’s 7,000 units of government.

Quinn on Friday signed Senate Bill 494, which will allow the DuPage County Board to dissolve as many as 13 government bodies that critics allege are unnecessary or provide duplicate services. The county has about 400 units of local government.

The County Board must show good cause for abolishing a taxing body, and citizens have 30 days from approval of an abolition ordinance to initiate a referendum if they oppose.

The DuPage County taxing bodies eligible for elimination under the new law include sanitary districts, fire protection districts, mosquito abatement districts, a housing authority, an airport authority, a fair and exposition authority and a street lighting district.

State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, was a co-sponsor, and state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, was the bill’s chief sponsor in the House.

Franks is chairman of the state Local Government Consolidation Commission, which now has until the end of September to release its report with recommendations to reduce the number of Illinois governments.

Illinois by far has the most governments of any other state. The first runner-up, Pennsylvania, has 4,900.

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