By Jayette Bolinski, Illinois Watchdog
Illinois taxpayers continue to pay for more local units of government — nearly 7,000 — than any other state, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. That includes municipalities, townships, library districts, school districts, park districts, water and sanitary districts, mosquito-abatement districts, airport and transit authorities, hospital boards, tax-increment-financing districts — all of which provide services for Illinois taxpayers.
“You could go to a local government meeting every day of the week and still not be able to make all the meetings,” said Brian Costin, director of government reform for the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank.
Illinois has 6,968 units of local government, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s preliminary 2012 Census of Governments, released last week. That's far ahead of Number Two, Pennsylvania, which boats 4,905 units of local government.
Last year the State authorized a 17-member Local Government Consolidation Commission. It's chaired by rural McHenry County State Rep. Jack Franks, charged with examining local governments and, among other things, reducing “the multiplicity of local governments” and eliminating “overlapping and duplicating of unnecessary powers.” The commission is supposed to file a report by the end of of the year but Franks says he's going to ask for more time since the group didn't have enough appointees to even meet until February.
Besides the financial price of so much government, Costin suspects there's a social cost, too. “I think that’s something where citizens get discouraged. They say, ‘I can’t keep up on everything that’s going on, so I’m just not going to participate.’”
You can read Jayette's full report at: http://watchdog.org/55274/il-illinois-maintains-no-1-spot-for-most-units-of-local-government/