Township government is too costly

Work done by the state’s hundreds of townships can be easily absorbed by counties or charitable organizations.

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Workers help to distribute food during the pandemic at a suburban food pantry in April 2020. Food pantries are a common service provided by township government. 

Workers help to distribute food during the pandemic at a suburban food pantry in April 2020. Food pantries are a common service provided by township government.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

In his opinion piece defending township government, “Stop bad-mouthing township government,” Ross Secler praises the good things townships do.

Since he is an associate attorney with a law firm that represents eight townships, you have to wonder about his vested interest in promoting township government.

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I am sure that townships do good work, but at what cost, when you factor in salaries, pensions, insurance, office expenses, legal fees? Also, how much oversight is there in what they do?

It just seems it’s a lot of money spent throughout the state for work that can be easily absorbed by the county or charitable organizations. I always look upon townships as little fiefdoms.

Mario Caruso, Lincoln Square

Counties can handle township work

Last month, the other major Chicago newspaper published an op-ed that endorsed abolishing townships in Illinois. I wrote a letter to the editors in support of that position. On the day that my letter was published, the newspaper also printed two letters opposed to the abolishment.

Both of those letters in support of townships touted their positive programs. Both were written by employees of a township, who depend on that level of government for a paycheck.

More recently, the Sun-Times published an op-ed article in support of townships. This piece also touted positive programs. It was not written by an employee but by an attorney who provides legal services and advice to townships. There is a direct financial interest between the writer and the township layer of government.

Again, being in opposition to the existence of the township layer of government is not opposition to their outstanding services. Most of these services can be combined with existing county programs. Counties should create other programs to enhance services to citizens.

Township budget line items would move to county budgets, where they can be monitored and combined as appropriate.

There are several thousand people in Illinois who rely on townships for a paycheck or payment, and a few million Illinoisans who would appreciate seeing a lighter load of government entities. Let’s see how that calculation is computed in Springfield.

Gerald King, Merrionette Park

A new tax to consider

Here’s an idea to help cover the income-expense gap we have in the state.

Let’s place a tax on all political candidate ads. In the spirit of our governor, let’s make it a progressive tax: $10,000 on the first 50 ads run, and then we double it for each additional set of 50 ads.

This may not stop the endless barrage of TV and radio noise from polluting the air waves, but hopefully it will raise some needed state funding, and force the candidates to spend more face time with the voters than they do with camera crews.

Steven Fortuna, Naperville

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