Illinois takes steps toward consolidating its 7,000 units of government
Illinois’ duplicative and overlapping units of government contribute to the state’s high property tax burden, but luckily some small steps have been taken to consolidate them.
Illinois has the most units of local government in the country, with nearly 7,000 across the state, many of which provide overlapping and duplicative services. This is one of the biggest reasons Illinois residents pay among the highest property taxes in the nation.
Fortunately in 2016, some small but significant steps were taken to provide a more efficient government. For example, the Belleville City Council voted to dissolve the city’s township, which covered the same boundaries as the city, and for the city to take over the township’s functions. This move is estimated to save taxpayers $260,000 per year on administrative costs. Gov. Bruce Rauner also signed into law a bill that gives McHenry and Lake counties the authority to consolidate and dissolve units of local government within their boundaries. Both of these actions are steps toward a more efficient government.
In 2016, voters also weighed in on making government more efficient. Voters in Naperville responded with support for ballot questions regarding consolidating layers of local government. The residents approved the dissolution of township governments, and about consolidating road maintenance and mosquito abatement districts. The Peru City Council also approved adding a ballot question asking Peru residents if they would like the city to consider dissolving its township and consolidating the services with the city.
More government officials need to take steps toward providing their constituents with property tax relief by looking for ways to reduce excessive government layers and increase government inefficiency. A good place to begin would be to expand the McHenry and Lake County law to apply to all counties. Another good step would be to consolidate school districts together. Better government efficiency and consolidation, such as these, could lead to significant savings for taxpayers.