That’s roughly one government for each 1,400 people – enough to give you, your brother-in-law or cousin a respectable shot at holding a public position of honor at some point in your lives.
Even before the Civic Federation’s findings, Illinois by far had the highest number of local governments in the nation.
The problem is that each of those governments raises taxes for itself one way or another, says Civic Federation President Laurence Msall.
“If you want to reduce your property taxes, you have to reduce the number of governments that collect money,” he said.
Msall said that Civic Federation researchers found that the Census Bureau, the most typically cited data source, missed many of units of local government. So it tapped other sources and came up with a substantially bigger figure.
Though some officials such as former Gov. Bruce Rauner made major moves to slash the number of local governments – with mixed success – they have their defenders, with some arguing that any additional cost to taxpayers is worth it because governments tend to be most efficient when they’re small and closer to taxpayers.
Other dispute that, saying that some units have developed into self-perpetuating fiefdoms that are better at spinning off patronage jobs and contracts than performing worthy services.