BGA’s Shaw: Local government consolidation would save tax money, improve lives
Better Government Association (BGA) President and CEO Andy Shaw is hopeful the tide is finally turning against Illinois’ many and overlapping units of government, according to a recent opinion piece published on the group’s website.
Shaw noted that Illinois has more units of local government than any other state – by an astounding margin of 2,000 – and that this increases spending on services that could be consolidated under fewer government organizations.
Shaw pointed to Illinois’ more than 800 school districts and noted the state could pay for education funding increases by eliminating redundant districts and directing money from administration costs to the classroom. He also highlighted a Metropolitan Planning Council report noting that Illinois could save $2 billion annually by consolidating library, park and fire prevention districts.
The General Assembly passed legislation last year that allows counties to consolidate and eliminate units of government, Shaw wrote, but the drive will have to come from engaged citizens and enlightened elected officials.
“Bureaucratic bloat may not jolt us like potholes, inconvenience us like government shutdowns, or whack us like big tax hikes — it’s not a gut punch — but if it’s troubling enough to embolden strong leaders and dedicated citizens, equipped with compelling data, to lead a campaign to save tax dollars, improve the lives of Illinois residents, and give us the better government we’re entitled to, the BGA and other reform groups will have their backs,” Shaw wrote.