Local governments old and new flourish across the U.S.,
challenging the idea of an age of austerity and smaller
government. Since 1981, the number has grown to more than
89,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Residents pay for representation and services that are often duplicative, even as shrinking budgets led to the firing of 360,000 public-school
positions from July 2008 to October 2012 and reductions at half
the nation’s police departments.
Nothing thrives in Illinois like local government -- almost 7,000 units that tax, spend and drive up debt in a state struggling to pay off vendors and cover almost $100 billion of unfunded pension liabilities.