Transform Illinois is a collaborative of local elected officials, civic organizations and research institutions dedicated to promoting and supporting local government efficiency efforts in Illinois.
Challenge and Solution
Illinois’ tangled web of 7,000+ governmental units include nearly 50 different categories, many developed decades ago under different conditions. Regional demographics, geography and technology all have evolved, yet we’ve failed to adapt these government institutions and systems. The result is a highly fragmented governance system with thousands of units that do not directly improve our economy or quality of life:
- Single-purpose units such as road districts often overlap with, and sometimes provide the same services as, multi-purpose units such as municipalities and counties.
- The inability to track the thousands of units of government—and their annual spending of nearly $60 billion—creates costs and barriers to understanding how decisions are made, how resources are allocated and ultimately who is accountable.
Our fragmented governmental structures impact every resident of Illinois. As taxpayers, it’s easy to lose track of the dozens of taxing bodies staking claim to tax dollars, let alone how they are using that money. There is little to no accountability for residents on the quality of services these governments provide.
Read Annie McDonough’s blog post, “In local government, sometimes less is more.”
Created in 2014, Transform Illinois is committed to better coordinating research, advocacy, legislative and policy implementation activities that will improve the effectiveness of government service delivery in Illinois. Under the leadership of DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin, and with the facilitation of the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Transform Illinois is a voluntary collection of individual lawmakers, research organizations, government officials and advocacy groups.
Transform Illinois will expand awareness of the economic impact of the current structure of government in the state. This will include support for both voluntary and required measures to share services among units of government, eliminate redundant and ineffective units, revise funding mechanisms to create incentives for efficiency, and discourage the creation of new, single-purpose units of government unless there are demonstrable efficiency gains from doing so.