A coalition of good-government groups, business interests and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle has said it’s time to change the culture of government and streamline services for taxpayers.
With nearly 7,000 units of local government, Illinois has more layers of government than any other state. The Transform Illinois Coalition said 22 measures pending in the General Assembly would empower local voters to consolidate governments.
Dan Cronin, chairman of DuPage County, said it’s beyond time to change the culture of big government.
Click here for summary
“It used to be about jobs and contracts and big operations and control and so on,” Cronin said.
Woodstock Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks said the layers of local governments were created years ago to get around tax caps.
“And it’s crushing us,” Franks said. “One of the biggest issues in the counties that we represent is the incredible burden of property taxes.”
Franks said the proposed measures are about empowering local voters to find taxpayer savings and efficiencies by removing duplicative layers of government.
MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council and a member of the coalition, said the focus isn’t finding the magic number of governments, “but rather what is the best structure to deliver quality services at low cost and efficiently.”
Barrett said consolidating governments would also help attack the mounting pension costs found in local governments.
Cronin said some stakeholders will make it difficult, but the culture of government in Illinois must change to make dissolving governments popular.