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HomeIllinois NewsHouse Committee Advances Cullerton-McSweeney Bill to Promote Local Government Consolidation

House Committee Advances Cullerton-McSweeney Bill to Promote Local Government Consolidation

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House Counties and Townships Committee approved a proposal to help reduce the number of units of local government in Illinois, according to Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), the House sponsor of the legislation. The measure previously passed the Senate without opposition.  Senator Thomas Cullerton (D-Lake Villa) is the Senate sponsor.

“Illinois has more than 7,000 units of local government,” Rep. McSweeney said. “Many of these units of government are duplicative and outdated in their functionality. We need to look at ways to reduce the number of units of local government and stop costing taxpayers money. Senate Bill 2994 moves us closer to dissolving unnecessary and duplicative units of government.”

Senate Bill 2994 requires every county to prepare a report for the General Assembly identifying any local public entity to which the county board, board of county commissioners, county board chairman or president, or county executive makes appointments.  

“The purpose here is to get an assessment of how many boards and local governing bodies we have in Illinois with the hope that we can ultimately reduce the number of these boards at the local level,” McSweeney said.

A recent Wallethub.com survey shows how Illinois has the highest state and local taxes of any state in the country.

"Clearly, Illinois residents are paying a lot for all of these units of local government. Consolidating local government is the best long-term way to reduce property taxes,” McSweeney said.

Senate Bill 2994 passed the Illinois House Counties and Townships Committee by a vote of 11-0. The legislation moves to the full House for further consideration.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. That’s a great bill. Illinois has too many school districts. When I lived in California, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Ohio, and Oklahoma, I read that, in those states, each school district has at least one high school, at least one junior high, and at least one elem. school. Illinois has many districts that have one school, each. Each of those districts levies a property tax, and the average salary of an Illinois superintendent is $120,000, per year. Those small districts don’t help the kids, much, since Illinois usually has lower test scores and higher drop-out rates, compared to the other states, that I mentioned.

  2. Is this a solution in search of a problem? Yes Illinois has more units of local government than many other states but so what? There are historical reasons for that which are not sinister at all. For example, special government units rose up in rural areas under the Illinois Constitution of 1870 to serve a special purpose and not get entangled with debt and bureaucracy of a larger city or town. So that is why citizens in rural areas created special fire protection districts and sanitary or water reclaimation districts and even mosquito abatement districts with elected trustees before cities grew out to take over the rural areas. This was a natural way for local units to evolve and the trustees were close to the people served and accountable to them because neighbors knew who they were. We still have some of these districts in suburban Cook County. But the Municipal League was always at war with these special local units because they wanted cities to empire build and take over all possible services under always expanding and unaccountable regional governments. If the function of a local unit really is now obsolete or duplicates a municipal service, then local voters can abolish the service by a vote. But why does this need to be done statewide from Springfield?

  3. What connection are you trying to make between excessively high salaries for superintendents and the fact that a school district levies a property tax? In Latin we call this a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. Many local school districts are far more accountable to local voters than the giant school districts are.

  4. Is there any proof that if they consolidate the government bodies that our taxes will go down? Let’s say that they consolidate the nine townships in DuPage County into the county government. The result is a much larger county government that levies property taxes at a greater amount than in the past. Who will be the winners and who will be the losers when the new tax bills come out? Will those on the east side of the county where housing cost are higher see their tax bills increase taking on an even greater share of the tax burden while those in the west part of the county where you get more home for your money see their tax bills decline?
    For seven years the county board has done a great job by not increasing the amount of property taxes they take in but my taxes continue to go up because I live in an area where the housing price are rising so we get to pay an ever increasing share of the tax burden. Show me the studies that show how the tax burden gets divided up. Just wait until they start consolidating school districts and if you live in area with high housing cost you find out your tax bill sky rockets when you were sold on the idea that it would go down. Again where are the studies that show how this works out?