How Much is Too Much Local Government?
Illinois tops the charts when it comes to number of local units of government. According to the U.S. Census of Governments, that number is 6,918. Coming in second place with 5,148 units is Texas. Rounding out the top five are Pennsylvania, California and Ohio.
Counties, townships, school districts and community college districts are among the local government units easily found across the state.
It’s also common to live in an area served by a municipality, fire protection district and library and park and recreation districts, just to name a few.
As a result of this high density, many lllinois’ residents have six or more layers of government serving their local area. That can translate to less transparency and engagement. That number also impacts property taxes.
Cook County is home to between 99 and 543 governmental units. Cook County along with the counties of Bureau, Champaign, Christian, Dupage, Fulton, Henry, lroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Lasalle, MCHenry, MCLean, Madison, Sangamon, St. Clair, Vermillion, and Will are home to the most units of local government in all of Illinois.