Rauner signs bill allowing consolidation of mosquito abatement districts

Rauner signs bill allowing consolidation of mosquito abatement districts

With the signing of Senate Bill 2543, taxpayers could soon see savings – and more efficiency – in local government.

On Aug. 10, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that could deliver small but welcome relief to some property taxpayers across the state.

Senate Bill 2543, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, will allow the board of any mosquito abatement district to vote to consolidate its district with either another mosquito abatement district or with a township, city or county. Illinois is home to 20 mosquito abatement districts.

By consolidating these obscure units of government, local taxpayers could see savings. Allowing their services to be absorbed by another government unit would eliminate unnecessary administrative costs.

Taxpayers are in desperate need of relief. And with nearly 7,000 units of government – more than any other state in the nation – Illinois local governments are ripe for consolidation. The average Illinois resident lives under six layers of local government. In addition to mosquito abatement districts, this can include townships, road districts, school districts and any other special taxing district. Each of those layers add to Illinoisans’ high property tax burden.

What’s worse, these government layers are often duplicative, meaning they fail to provide any more value to residents for the added cost. Since levying property taxes is the main source of revenue for local governments, it’s no wonder Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

SB 2543 is a step in the right direction, but it should not be the last consolidation measure Illinois lawmakers act on. State lawmakers should expand on these reforms to give taxpayers more control over the consolidation process as well.

Lawmakers in Springfield should continue to support consolidation efforts that bring taxpayer savings and provide a path toward property tax relief. Taxpayers deserve a voice in structuring the government they pay for.

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