THE BLOG

Government Consolidation Might Be the Answer to Illinois' Problems

08/14/2014 09:52 pm ET | Updated Oct 14, 2014

According to U.S Census Buereau information, there are 7,000 government units in Illinois (and the Illinois Comptroller's office counts 1,400 more than that), the most in the country by about 2,000 units.The Better Government Association's Alden Loury said he thinks that number is far too high and that the state should look toward streamlining their operations. In 2012, those government units spent about $60 billion in running the state, but Loury said that in order for the state to get back on track after its pension and budget difficulties, Illinois has to find ways to cut government spending at the 7,000 different levels.

Administrative costs are usually the first target for savings whenever government units consolidate or dissolve. And the potential for those savings can be great in some cases. For example, Illinois spends more for school-district-level administration than any other state in the nation, according to the census.

Other areas worth examining include the state's more than 1,400 townships and more than 3,000 special districts, including fire protection districts, sanitary districts, library districts and park districts.

Even when consolidation isn't the best option for a particular arm of government, politics shouldn't be the driving factor in deciding not to consolidate.

Some of those government entities are visiting the Illinois State Fair this week. The fair collects all things Illinois so everyone in the state can enjoy them, and what's more enjoyable than food on a stick? Pizza, bacon, even alligator can be skewered, fried and scarfed down. What sounds the best to you? Take the survey at Reboot Illinois and see if you share the same food-on-a-stick tastes as your fellow Illinoisans.