Illinois tries harder. According to the Illinois Policy Institute Illinoisans suffer from the second-highest property tax rates in the nation. Illinois is the third most corrupt state in the nation.
But Illinois is solidly in first place in other categories.
Most Convicted Governors
For example, Illinois is at the top of the list in imprisoned governors.
The Huffington Post notes 4 Of State’s Last 7 Governors Were Convicted, Imprisoned
What state can possibly top that?
Lowest Credit Rating
On January 25, 2013 the Chicago Tribune reported Illinois credit rating sinks to worst in nation
Highest Number of Local Governments
Please consider a report on “Too Much Government” that details Illinois’ thousands of local government bodies.
Illinois has the most units of local government of any state in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 6,963 local governments, Illinois beats its nearest competitor by more than 1,800. Texas is No. 2 with 5,147 local governments.
The average Illinoisan resides in an area that has at least six layers of local government including county, township,
municipality, both a primary and secondary level school district, and a community college district.
It is also quite common to have additional layers of government such as libraries, park districts, forest preserves, fire protection, sanitation, transportation and even mosquito abatement districts. These special districts add unnecessary layers of local government and bureaucracy, leading to expensive duplication of public services.
The result is higher costs for Illinoisans. Local government is primarily financed through local property taxes, and Illinois’ high number of governments contributes to the state having the second-highest property tax rates in the nation.
Number of Local Governments
Per Capita Basis
The Elgin portion of Kane County has 16 local government agencies.
Kane County Case Study
- Forest Preserve District of Kane County
- Plato Township Road District
- Plato Township Cemetery District
- Ella Johnson Memorial Public Library
- Fox River Water Reclamation District
- Northwest Kane Airport Authority
- Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire Protection District
- Plato Township Solid Waste Disposal District
- Pace Suburban Bus Service
- Regional Transportation Authority
- Kane County General Purpose
- Plato Township General Purpose
- City of Elgin General Purpose
- Central School District 301
- Elgin Community College
Townships are responsible for roads in unincorporated areas but often provide these services at a much higher cost to taxpayers than municipal or county authorities. According to the Better Government Association: “In Cook County, the 20 townships have 280 miles of roads in unincorporated areas and the average ‘cost-per-mile’ to maintain them is $80,509 … In comparison, the average cost to eight north and northwestern Chicago suburbs was $16,030 per mile … most of these suburbs have four to five times the number of road miles as any township.”
That means it’s about four times more expensive for townships to maintain these roads.
Another redundant unit of local government prevalent in Illinois is “special districts.” This classification can cover anything from transportation to public safety to water sanitation to parks and libraries. Illinois has 2,889 special districts, not including townships or school districts.
Out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide, a number of Illinois counties have property tax rates that put them in the top 100 highest owner-occupied property tax rates in the country.
I live in McHenry County. Out of thousands of cities and property tax districts nation-wide, we have 24th highest property taxes in the nation. I pay about $14,000 a year in property taxes on a $400,000 home.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock