Like many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the efforts of Republicans from all parts of our country to disenfranchise voters and limit the say taxpayers have in how their governments are run. Sadly, State Representative Tim Butler and the Sangamon County Republicans seem intent on replicating those efforts here.
During this spring’s legislative session, Representative Butler has introduced a bill that would grant unprecedented power to Sangamon County Republicans to take over Capital Township. While this bill is being portrayed to eliminate bureaucracy and inefficiency, nothing could be further from the truth. No amount of grandstanding can change that his efforts are solely to consolidate power.
Sangamon County is home to twenty-six townships, each with their own elected township officials. Representative Butler’s bill only targets the most diverse township with Sangamon County, Capital Township. Under the pretense of “eliminating bureaucracy and inefficiency,” Butler and local Republicans seek to disenfranchise a significant number of voters within our county. For the decades-long total control local Republicans have held on Capital Township, there were never any issues with the services provided and dissolving this essential level of government was never mentioned.
What has changed since 2016 when Representative Butler and local Republicans started their self-serving crusade? Where is Representative Butler’s bill to dissolve Ball, Fancy Creek, or Rochester Townships in Sangamon County? I cannot help but think that part of Representative Butler’s newfound interest in eliminating Capital Township may stem from the fact that after three decades of total Republican control over Capital Township, voters have overwhelmingly elected a young, dynamic black woman not once but twice, Democrat Lakeisha Purchase.
While I question Representative Butler’s intent with this legislation, what is not in question is what will happen if this bill is enacted. Unlike in every other township in Sangamon County, voters in Capital Township will not have the same rights to elect the people that serve them and guide how their township tax dollars are used. Instead, county government Republicans will be given unchecked access to Capital Township tax dollars that will be used to pad their own budgets and personal paychecks. All while not having to be concerned about Capital Township voters being able to hold them accountable in the next election. Simply put, this is taxation without representation.
Unfortunately, this kind of power grab under the guise of “good government” is typical for the Sangamon County Republicans. Government should be about helping all our citizens, not just the select few. It should be inclusive and representative of our entire community. Sangamon County Republicans and Representative Tim Butler have proven time and time again that the only “community” they serve is their own partisan political self-interests. Representative Butler should save the grandstanding for the Muni and work to represent all his constituents. I urge you to join me in calling on the Illinois General Assembly to reject his desperate attempt to consolidate political power for county Republicans so that we can protect the voices of Capital Township taxpayers.
Bill Houlihan is chair of the Sangamon County Democratic Party.
via The State Journal-Register
May 1, 2021 at 01:22PM