To the Editor:
After enduring skyrocketing property taxes in Illinois year after year, I applaud state Rep. David McSweeney for again filing his township consolidation bill.
McSweeney’s House Bill 348 would make it easier for the people of McHenry County to abolish and dissolve its 17 duplicative and often corrupt townships. This is one of the only opportunities we have to take charge and get government spending under control. We need this fighting chance if we’re going to survive our unruly property taxes.
McHenry County’s average effective property tax bill as of 2017 is $6,383 – one of the highest in Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker must give this bill a second look after former Gov. Rauner vetoed a nearly identical one last year. But we can’t stop there.
Lawmakers should capitalize on this step toward efficiency and look to the state’s nearly 900 school districts. It wastes our money the longer we don’t combine our elementary, middle and high school districts together.
By also relieving the state’s excessive administrative overhead, Illinois could invest millions more where students and teachers actually need it: the classroom.
The Illinois Policy Institute found non-teaching, administrative staff outpaced student population by nearly 40 percent from 1992 to 2015. That means taxpayers spent at least $750 million during that time to fund administrative hires and pensions instead of directing it right to students.
McSweeney sees the big picture: millions in savings while providing better quality services. It’s time other lawmakers follow his lead.