and communities will benefit from reforms suggested by a state task force to
reduce unfunded mandates on local communities and reduce the number of local
governments in Illinois, according to State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon).
nearly a year of study and public meetings, the Local Government and Unfunded
Mandates Task Force issued its report Jan. 4. Righter was appointed to the Task
Force in March 2015 by Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, who acted as
report has dozens of good, common-sense ideas, which can help reduce costs to
local governments so they can operate more efficiently and – more importantly –
so taxpayers aren’t paying for wasteful, duplicate or overlapping programs, and
unnecessary stipends,” Righter said. “Illinois has too many units of local
government, which has put the burden of funding them squarely on taxpayers,
especially our property owners. If our state can adopt some of the
recommendations in this report, we will not only move forward – but also, our
working families will keep more of their own money in their pockets.”
report notes Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the country. In
addition, the report says “Illinois is the only state in the United States
where a majority of its residents pay property taxes to three layers of general
purpose local governments: county, township, and municipal.”
has nearly 7,000 units of local government – the most in the country. Easing
the burden of unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts, has
to be at the top of the list,” Righter said. “Democrat majorities in
Springfield over the past several years have refused to fund education at 100
percent, which has put an even bigger burden on local property taxes, with
Illinois school districts now representing 64 percent of the property tax
collections. Not only should we fully fund education, but relieve all local
governments of mandates that Springfield won’t pay.”
of the suggestions in the report include:
a four-year moratorium on creating new local governments.
all townships in the state to consolidate with coterminous municipalities via
the Illinois State Board of Education flexibility to incentivize outcomes of
school district consolidation.
driver education mandate relief for school districts.
a constitutional amendment on unfunded state mandates.
mandates and too many units of local government go hand in hand with higher
costs of living for our residents – whether it be higher taxes or fees,”
Righter said. “Some of the recommendations in this report might be politically
unpopular, but if we are serious about helping our taxpayers and operating
government efficiently, some of these things must be done.”
here to see the entire report.