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New law mandates transparency in governor’s office

8/2/2018, 6 a.m.
Thetimesweekly.com A new law co-sponsored by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will put an end to misleading accounting practices in ...

Thetimesweekly.com

A new law co-sponsored by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will put an end to misleading accounting practices in the governor’s office.

House Bill 5121, which was signed into law Tuesday, ends the practice of “offshoring” the governor’s payroll costs within state agencies – a practice that depletes funds for vital state programs.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how state dollars are being spent,” Bertino-Tarrant said, “This new commonsense law promotes transparency and responsible accounting to ensure state dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.”

This measure was passed in response to reports that nearly 60 percent of employees currently working for the governor’s office are paid by state agencies with funds intended for priorities such as economic development, public safety and child protection.

Offshoring has been utilized by governors of both parties for years to make it appear their office budgets are smaller than they actually are.

Examples of offshoring include paying the governor’s education advisor $250,000 from the Department of Human Services budget or a deputy chief of staff $140,000 from the Illinois State Police budget.

The most recent payroll data shows only 44 of 102 employees in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office are paid from the governor’s budget. The rest – 58 staffers – are hidden in other agencies’ payrolls.

If the governor’s entire staff was accurately reported, his office budget would come in at more than $10 million, instead of the $4.9 million budgeted for the current fiscal year.

“No one wins when the government uses deceptive accounting practices,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law will ensure all governors play fair with taxpayer’s trust regardless of political party.”

House Bill 5121 passed with bipartisan support and goes into effect immediately.