Haas: Illinois has too many local governments

Jackie Haas
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Haas: Illinois has too many local governments (Kankakee, IL) – Illinois has too many local governments, said state Rep. Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee).

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“Illinois has by far the highest numbers of local governments of any state, coming to a resounding number of 6,918,” she said in a video statement.

The state needs to focus on eliminating unnecessary levels of government, she said.

“Illinois leads the nations in units of government that hike tax bills and add layers of bureaucracy,”   Haas said. “Consolidation and elimination of those unnecessary layers of government will … save money, lower property tax bills and create a better environment for those that live in our state.”

With nearly 7,000 local governments, Illinois beats its nearest competitor – Texas, by more than 1,800, the Illlinois Policy Institute said in a 2013 report.

“The average Illinoisan resides in an area that has at least six layers of local government including county, township, municipality, both a primary and secondary level school district, and a community college district,” the report said.

Then there are libraries, park districts, forest preserves, fire protection, sanitation, transportation and even mosquito abatement districts, it said.

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“These special districts add unnecessary layers of local government and bureaucracy, leading to expensive duplication of public services,” the Institute wrote.

The result is higher tax bills, it said.

“Local government is primarily financed through local property taxes, and Illinois’ high number of governments contributes to the state having the second-highest property tax rates in the nation,” the Institute wrote.

There are so many governments, it makes it difficult for citizens to keep watch over them, leading to corruption, the report concluded.

“Illinois is the third-most corrupt state in the country,” according to the report.

By population alone, Illinois should not have this many local governments, the institute said.

“Florida, with a population of nearly 18.8 million as of the 2010 Census, had just 1,650 units,” it said. “With nearly six million more people than Illinois, Florida has far fewer counties, municipalities, school districts and special districts. And that state manages to do without any township-level governments at all. Residents of Florida also have a much lower property tax.”

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