Republican and Democratic leaders in the state legislature agree that there are too many units of local government in Illinois. Consolidating them is easier said than done, according to House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), recalling the effort to eliminate a special tuberculosis taxing district in Cook County.
“The fact is they had lobbyists, they had people who were working against it,” Durkin said. “It took almost three years to get that done.”
Illinois had 6,963 taxing units as of last year, more than any state. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) agrees that’s too many, but feels consolidation is being held up by politics. “I’ve introduced legislation,” Cullerton said. “Even as Senate President…I don’t order people how to vote. When you talk about people outside of the city (of Chicago), they have conflicting interests.”
Cullerton has opposed some consolidation efforts in the past, such as the governor’s push in 2011 to force school districts to merge.