Gov. Rauner says he has a plan to save Illinois taxpayers more than $3 billion per year.
In February 2015, he issued an executive order that created the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force. Since then, the task force has generated 27 recommendations for how to consolidate and reduce mandates, including implementing a moratorium on creating new local governments; allowing township consolidations; incentivizing school district consolidation; encouraging the sharing of public equipment, facilities, and other resources; and eliminating or amending mandates like prevailing wage laws and mandatory collective bargaining.
WBGZ Radio reported Rauner’s comments: “The estimate was we’d save Illinois taxpayers $3.5 billion per year. $3.5 billion per year if we actually implemented the 27 recommendations our task force laid out.”
Some progress has been made: House Bill 5123 and 10 other bills that took parts of the task force’s recommendations and implemented them were passed. House Bill 5123 will allow county clerks to absorb the election commission, which Rauner expects to save $300,000 as well as improve efficiency and streamline election reporting in DuPage County. DuPage has been home to a consolidation pilot program for the last six years, during which time it has saved $120 million.
Part of the problem in Illinois, Rauner says, is that there are nearly 7,000 local government units, which is hundreds more than any other state and directly contributes to the state’s second-highest property tax burden in the country. Consolidation could help bring down this cost.