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Easy target

Published: Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

As the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, I would like to respond to the Sept. 6 editorial in the Northwest Herald that criticized township government and called for its elimination.

Understandably, due to massive state deficits, elected officials cannot escape the gut-reaction criticism of overspending and bloating in all levels of government these days.

Townships have become an easy target because many people do not understand what we do and how we operate.

The fact is we provide essential services effectively and efficiently across the state, and we often do it far under the radar. In an analysis by respected public policy researcher Wendell Cox, it was discovered that smaller, local governments have lower costs per capita than larger local governments. The argument that eliminating townships to save taxpayers’ money is inconsistent with Cox’s study.

The role of townships is to focus on cutting costs and providing value for the money allocated. If the responsibilities of smaller governments, including townships, were transferred to larger governments, taxpayers would pay more, because the larger governments have higher cost structures. This would certainly not be a step in the right direction for Illinois taxpayers.

Bryan E. Smith

Executive director, Township Officials of Illinois

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