While the sheer number of governments in Illinois is staggering—somewhere between 6,900 and 8,500, counting everything from school districts to lesser-known cemetery districts—the fundamental question isn’t, “How many is too many?” Instead, it’s “How can we transform outdated, redundant, ineffective units of government to deliver high-quality services in the most cost-effective, accountable way?”
That's the question driving the work of Transform Illinois, a statewide coalition established in 2015 to improve the efficiency of government service delivery through coordinated research, advocacy and legislative and policy reforms. The independent coalition is comprised of research institutions, government officials and advocacy groups, brought together by DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin with the support of the Metropolitan Planning Council.
Transform Illinois' mission is the following:
Through coordinated research, advocacy, legislative and policy implementation, Transform Illinois will improve the efficiency of government service delivery in Illinois, and 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 reward efficiency, and discourage the creation of new, single-purpose units of government unless there are demonstrable efficiency gains from doing so.
The coalition's work is grounded in rigorous research into current and best government practices.
As an initial statement of intent, the coalition authored House Joint Resolution 65, introduced by Ill. Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) on April 14, 2015, calling on General Assembly members to acknowledge that the size, scope and cost of local governments may not best serve Illinois residents and businesses.
Coalition members include:
Ill. Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove)
Ill. Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Buffalo Grove)
Ill. Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
Ill. Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston)
Better Government Association
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform
Metropolitan Planning Council
Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies
Taxpayers Federation of Illinois