Illinois General Assembly approves modification of local government efficiency/taxpayer accountability bill

On Thursday the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation strengthening a recent state law initially introduced and sponsored by State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, that requires local taxing bodies to review and report on their efficiency every ten years and consider whether consolidating operations with another unit of government would achieve greater accountability and cost savings to taxpayers. The law originally passed in 2022 received another vote of confidence Thursday with passage of House Bill 4228, which strengthens the provisions of Keicher’s original bill.

“Too often Illinois taxpayers have been beaten up by the number of local units of government that are able to levy residential property taxes,” Rep. Keicher said. “What my original bill and this new bill does is to make sure that we right-size local government units at the property tax level so that every ten years we put it in the hands of the taxpayers to decide whether or not they want to be taxed for that function of government. This is the best piece of good government legislation we will see come out of Springfield this year.  In some places lighting districts or other special assessments are helping minimize property taxation to a smaller area where it’s needed.  Who are we to decide what all Illinois local government should look like – leave it to the taxpayer.”

“Since I was elected to office, I’ve heard the top complaint is property taxes.  The new law allows local decisions on what units of government are important.  I am gratified that my colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle have embraced the value of this idea of empowering our citizens,” added Rep. Keicher.

Rep. Keicher served as Chief Co-Sponsor of the 2022 legislation, Senate Bill 3789, which was signed into law by the Governor in June. Rep. Keicher’s proposal was originally filed as House Bill 4691 in February 2020. Last year, Keicher’s legislation passed the House unanimously as House Bill 162, but it was taken by State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, who reintroduced it as Senate Bill 3789. The bill passed the State Senate in February 2022 and the House of Representatives in March 2022. Municipalities and counties are the only units of local government exempted from the provisions of the bill.