Bill requiring state workers to be residents raises concern for GOP lawmakers, policy watchdog
Illinois State Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) is convinced the Illinois Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill requiring all new state workers to reside within the boundaries of the state screams desperation.
“It raises the larger concern of why state workers would be choosing to live somewhere else while working here,” Ugaste told the Prairie State Wire. “Why is it we feel we have to force workers to live here? If the state was heading in the proper direction, I don’t think we would be having to do this.”
Introduced by Democratic Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview), Senate Bill 1639 stipulates that after Dec. 31, all new state hires must be Illinois residents within three months of their first day on the job, unless the requirement is waived for just cause by the Director of Central Management Services. While Fine is on record in asserting that her motivations for sponsoring such legislation are grounded in her desire to make sure state workers are accountable to the government bodies under which they live, GOP House member Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) sees things much in the same way as Ugaste.
“I think all of this reveals a symptom to a far larger problem,” Morrison said. “We need to be looking at property taxes and the threat of greater income and other taxes as the real culprits. Taxes aren’t the only reason so many people are moving away but they certainly play a major factor, especially if we’re talking about all the people just moving over the state border to still be able to work here.”
Ted Dabrowski, president of government watchdog website Wirepoints, agrees, saying the whole plan is just the latest example of Springfield’s dysfunction.
“It’s just more desperate meddling in people’s lives that doesn’t fix any problem,” Dabrowski said. “It doesn’t address the pension problems, all the unpaid bills or the way people are leaving the state. It’s just another instance of the government pretending to be doing something when nothing is really being addressed.”
The bill is now headed to the House Rules Committee for a hearing.