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LettersEditor

I am responding to the Herald & Review’s piece ("Time to address reducing some governing layers," Feb. 24) in which it’s stated that Illinois’ taxes are high because there are too many forms of government.

As the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, I’d like to share some important data from the Illinois Comptroller’s office that clearly dispels those claims. Indeed, state reporting shows that smaller units of local government in Illinois cost taxpayers less than larger units of government. This can be seen among municipalities where taxes per resident tend to be higher where governments are larger.

There has been an aggressive push to eliminate township government in Illinois, often based on information that is simply not true. Townships, which are generally smaller, have had the lowest tax increase rates in recent decades among the various types of government in the state. Further, township labor costs per employee are also the lowest of any government type.

Local democracy is stronger where local governments are smaller. If townships were to be eliminated and forced into consolidating with units of government with higher cost structures, taxes, spending and debt are likely to increase. Just as bad, it would make local governments less responsive to constituents. This is no way to reduce taxes.

Bryan Smith, Decatur

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