09/15/2014 11:55 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Would fewer governments in Illinois equal a more balanced budget?

Illinois has the lowest credit rating in the country, a budget that needs balancing and pensions that are millions of dollars underfunded. Illinois also has the most government taxing bodies in the nation. Is Illinois' woeful financial status related to its overabundance of small governments? Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia, says that more governments doesn't automatically equal more taxing and spending and fewer governments doesn't guarantee the opposite. He writes:

"If the bigger-is-better theory were valid, then Illinois would have the highest taxation per capita in the nation. It does not."


"Of course, there is more than cost. People are also want high quality public services. This is more likely to occur where voters have a larger voice -- where the size of the electorate is smaller. Even "bigger-is-better" advocates know this. For example, a report by the Brookings Institution and the Greater Ohio Policy Center noted the desire of citizens for more the "accessible and responsive" governments that is associated with smaller units of local government."

So which is better? Few, larger government bodies in a state or more, smaller bodies?

Part of the reason Illinois has so many governments is because of its large population. How did the state come to be the home of so many people? According to a New York Times report, more than 60 percent of people living in Illinois were born in the state. After that, most transplant Illinoisans come from other counties or other Midwestern states, followed by states in other regions of the U.S. How has this population shift changed over time?