To the Editor:
The political clout of townships should not be underestimated. Of Illinois’ 7,000 tax-funded governments, the state’s 1,433 township governments have the closest ties to Springfield. Townships are well-connected. Townships are so connected that many members of the General Assembly are both a township official as well as a state representative or senator, supporting legislation for the continuation of outdated townships.
Township political clout comes from their lobby organization, Township Officials of Illinois. Funding of TOI comes from the Township Officials of Illinois Political Action Committee. TOIPAC funds the election of pro-township representatives and senators. TOI has been in existence for more than 100 years, has a membership of more than 11,000 township officials, and delivers the “township message” through their magazine sent to 13,000 individuals, who are elected statewide officials.
Message from Bryan Smith, TOI executive director, to township officials: “Our presence in Springfield is now more important than ever ... with the General Assembly to preserve township government in Illinois.”
Message from Jeff Wallace, TOI president, to township officials: “TOI maintains a strong presence at our State Capitol in Springfield. Our aggressive legislative agenda has enabled us, (TOI), to pass many laws to protect township government. We have also been successful in our opposition, (township referendums), to proposed laws that would be detrimental to township government.”
TOI’s message: “We are the people next door.” Really!
The fact is that townships have evolved into surplus government, provide duplicative services of city and county governments, and do not provide value to the everyday citizen. Abolish townships.