Illinois ranks No.1 for units of local government

May 24, 2022

Over 6,000 government bodies keep Illinois property taxes high

PRESS RELEASE from the
ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE 

CONTACT: Micky Horstman (312) 607-4977

Illinois ranks No.1 for units of local government
Over 6,000 government bodies keep Illinois property taxes high

CHICAGO (May 24, 2022) — Illinois’ property tax problem has a clear culprit: taxpayers fund 6,032 units of local government – the most in the nation – a new study shows. That does not include 859 Illinois school districts.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, 61% of Illinois homeowners live under three layers of local government, with some living under as many as 16. Staffing and serving multiple layers of government then drives up local property taxes.

In comparison, residents in 40 states live under a maximum of two layers of local government. Texas has the second-highest number of units, but with over twice as many people it still operates with 1,762 fewer local governments. California’s population is three times that of Illinois’ but it has nearly 2,600 fewer government units.

“Consolidating duplicative units of government is the quickest way to provide property tax relief for overburdened homeowners. It is inefficient and unfair for residents to pay two separate tax bills for two sets of government that do the same or similar things,” said Adam Schuster, vice president of policy for the Illinois Policy Institute.

An initiative called the Citizens Empowerment Act, introduced by lawmakers for years, would allow residents to put consolidating local governments on local ballots for voters to approve.

Fast facts about government consolidation in Illinois:

  • There are 17 townships and municipalities in Illinois that share nearly identical boundaries and services, but create two separate tax burdens.
  • Townships and municipalities are the most common government units, yet there are other units, including museum districts, mosquito abatement districts and tuberculosis sanitation districts.
  • In 2014, Evanston voted to consolidate their township with the city. The plan saved taxpayers nearly $800,000 after the first year.

To read more about Illinois’ many units of government, visit illin.is/consolidation.

For bookings or interviews, contact Melanie Krakauer at media@illinoispolicy.org or 312-607-4977.