Wonder Lake’s Bob Anderson testified in Springfield before the entire House of Representatives on government consolidation.
His message is summarized below:
The restructuring (streamlining) of Illinois’ 7,000 unit of local government system, starting with township consolidation or elimination, will put Illinois on the path for tax relief.
Consolidating, or the elimination of township, of Illinois’ outdated 1,433 township governments will anger those who defend township fiefdoms…but life has changed.
We are no longer living in the horse and buggy days of the 1800s when travel was by horse and buggy and it was a days travel to the county seat.
Anderson pointed out that “Every five minutes some one moves out of Illinois,”giving examples gleaned from his barber shop customers.”
Some even commute from Wisconsin to avoid Illinois property taxes.
Anderson cited “a recent Northwest Herald Poll asking, ‘Are you considering moving out of Illinois?'”
The results showed 74% were considering moving out of state.
“Illinois has 7,000 governments, which is 2,000 more than any other state,” Anderson pointed out.
“Illinois will not be save unless we reduce the tax burden of supporting 7,000 units of governments,” the McHenry Township Trustee said.
He added that the Illinois Comptroller puts the number of governments at 8,466 units.
Anderson pointed out that Wisconsin has 3,128 units of local government, Michigan 2,875, Indiana 2,709 and Iowa 1,941.
California, with a population 39 million people has 4,400 local governmental units.
If California had same ratio as Illinois (17,500) units.
He pointed people to their property tax bills to identify the local layers of governments.
Among them are county, city, township, township road district, community college, school, fire protection, library, park, cemetery, forest preserve, conservation, drainage, mosquito, etc.
McHenry County has 136 different units of local government with about 700 officials, elected and appointed.
Anderson argued that county, city and township government provide duplicative services.
Road maintenance is an obvious one.
“Think of the redundant overhead cost, duplication of equipment, employees, facilities and elected officials,” plus “loss of economies of scale”.
“Over the past 25 years I have written dozens of letters to the Editor with subjects of Illinois’ ‘Love Affair’ with its 7,000 units of local governments, excessive property taxes, school consolidation, and the consolidation or elimination of redundant outdated township governments,” he concluded.