Kudos to the Chicago Tribune for encouraging lawmakers to consolidate or eliminate obscure and wasteful units of local government [“In a streamlining mood?” Aug. 4]. The number of local government bodies in Illinois is ridiculous, and no doubt many of them could be consolidated with other local government bodies or simply done away with, as happened with the Suburban Cook County Tuberculosis Sanitarium District.
But we need to remember that consolidated government is not necessarily better government. Just look at state government.
Illinois has only one state government. You can’t get more consolidated than that, yet state spending continues to climb. To pay for the increased spending hundreds of business fees have been hiked, state debt has soared, payments to Medicaid providers and others have been delayed, and billions of dollars have been diverted from state pension funds.
The people who would run these consolidated local governments must be committed to spending control. Otherwise we’ll end up with fewer local governments and larger total tax bills.
Steve Stanek ([email protected]) is managing editor of Budget & Tax News, a publication of The Heartland Institute.