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Effective Government

Civic participation and effective government are cornerstones of our region’s viability. That’s why MPC advances policies and programs that improve the efficiency, responsiveness, and accountability of our government institutions. Through our partnership with Transform Illinois and our new program to build municipal capacity, we promote and support local government efficiency and effectiveness.

A fragmented governance structure creates inefficiencies

Illinois’ tangled web of 7,000+ governmental units include nearly 50 different categories—1,452 road and bridge districts, 865 school districts and hundreds of townships and municipalities. Regional demographics, geography and technology all have evolved, yet our government institutions have not kept pace. While there are many bright spots of innovation and best practices at the local level, overall our highly fragmented governance system leads to ineffective and duplicative service delivery, waste, poor accountability and high levels of voter apathy.

At a time when municipal and state finances are severely strained, governments must deliver services more efficiently. We literally cannot afford the status quo.

Units of government per 10,000 people in Illinois, Texas, California, New York and Florida
Transform Illinois: A coalition for effective governance

MPC pursues solutions to our governance challenges at a variety of levels. Transform Illinois primarily works at the state level, pursuing legislative solutions to reduce barriers to efficiency. Closer to ground, we are designing a program to build local government capacity by working directly with municipalities to provide training, build networks between communities, and provide assistance with legal, engineering, financial, and other needs.

MPC’s efficient government work includes:

Transform Illinois logo

Transform Illinois

MPC is partnering with DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin to lead Transform Illinois, a coalition of lawmakers, government officials and organizations committed to legislative reforms and local implementation that improve the effectiveness of government service delivery in Illinois. The efforts of our coalition, which includes the Better Government Association, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and others, are grounded in rigorous analysis and stakeholder outreach.

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Strong municipalities

Local governments are facing intense fiscal pressures, and MPC can help them find solutions.

MPC is working with key partners, including the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, to design a program to build capacity at local governments. The program is now being developed, and will be launched in late 2018. MPC’s unique position at the intersection of the public, private and civic sectors—with access to experts in engineering, law, finance and public policy—provides the breadth of perspectives and relationships that this complex issue requires.

A coordinated solution to government efficiency

The impacts of inefficient governance are broad and deep. Our region struggles with disappointing economic performance, steep taxes, poorly maintained infrastructure and high levels of inequality – due in part to our proliferation of local governments and their uneven capacity. In the long term, our governance programs will lead to increased efficiency, lower tax rates, higher quality services, and better economic performance overall.