Illinois, the Land of Big (and small) Government

Categories: Get Involved,Past Studies & Advocacy Programs,Study Topics

How Many Units of Government Are There? (And Why?); What’s In Your Tax Bill?

There are some 7,000 units of local government in Illinois, more than any other state. By separating so many services into independent city, park, recreation, township, etc. local governments, we create independent government fiefdoms that are free from healthy competition with other services for limited tax dollars. There are so many governments in Illinois that it is impossible for taxpayers or media watchdogs to monitor them all. According to David Hamilton, director of Texas Tech University’s public administration program, “Illinois is really kind of a poster child for excessive governing bodies.” How many taxing bodies do we have in our area, and what are their functions, budgets, employees, and long term costs?

The LWV of the Elgin area will study the number of separate taxing bodies in Kane County, including their functions, budgets, number of employees, overlap of responsibilities, and long term costs.