We are governed a lot here in Illinois. And by a lot, we mean too much. Also, we are taxed a lot here in Illinois. And by a lot, we mean too much.
Those two things go hand-in-hand as government runs on taxes. So logic would dictate that if you fix the first, you’ll fix the second.
Let’s start with how much we’re governed. Are you sitting down?
A comprehensive analysis by the Civic Federation reported in April that Illinois has 8,923 units of local government. That number is 30% higher than the U.S. Census Bureau’s count of 6,918. And with the previous count, Illinois was already leading the nation on total local government units. We are just plain blowing the competition away with the new count.
And, if it weren’t bad enough already, not only do we have the highest number of taxing units in the nation, we have more than Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky combined.
According to Illinois Policy, an independent organization, the average Illinois resident lives under six layers of government.
So, it should come as little surprise that Illinois also claims the title of highest state and local tax burden in the nation. When it comes to property taxes, we are second-highest in the nation.
And while we all know that more government means more taxes, calls for consolidation often fall on deaf ears. That holds especially true in Springfield where legislation seeking consolidation has come and gone without a trace.
But it seems someone is listening. We’ve reported recently on efforts in Peotone and Aroma Park to streamline governmental services. Peotone is seeking to merge with the Manhattan fire district, while Aroma Park will turn its policing over to the county sheriff’s department.
We applaud the leaders in these two communities for finding the most fiscally responsible way to provide necessary government services.
Now, if we could get others to follow suit — and we can chip away some of the many layers of government here in Illinois — we just might be able to hold onto a little more of our hard-earned money.