By Mark Cavers
Whether you are raising your family, commuting to work, educating your children, or starting a business, the elected officials of your local government are involved. The point at which public policy intersects with our personal lives can be seen most clearly through the work of local governments.
In order to improve the quality of life for our families, we need to develop, support, and enact the free-market policy agenda in the schools, village halls, libraries, and park districts across Illinois.
The Illinois Opportunity Project is educating and advocating for free-market policies in 36 local and municipal governments and working with 62 local leaders as part of our mission to ensure all families can enjoy the rewards of economic freedom.
We educate and advocate through our grassroots efforts because local governments serve as incubators for public policy and can be drivers of policy solutions. Serving in government at the local level allows leaders to test policies and approaches and prove the real world positive impact that free-market solutions can have on families. Local government successes demonstrate how policies work before those policies are scaled to the state level.
In communities across Illinois, elected officials are advancing good policy and demonstrating how free-market policies help families:
- In Wheatland Township, Supervisor Chuck Kern and his board have ended pensions for elected officials and consolidated services into one building. Their approach allowed them to zero out the township’s property tax bill last year.
- In Lombard, State Representative Peter Breen, during his time as Acting Village President, cut spending, froze property taxes, and received a 100% transparency rating from the Illinois Policy Institute. He even eliminated the city vehicle sticker, allowing residents to save more of their hard earned money.
- In Wood River Township, Supervisor Mike Babcock and his board cut property taxes and fees after reducing spending by 10%. And in Madison County, Treasurer Kurt Prenzler exposed a tax sale scandal and reduced his office’s budget by 30%.
Illinois needs more principled local leaders like these to partner with Governor Rauner and legislators in the General Assembly. State officials need support and community partners to champion policies that bring income and property tax relief, drive educational excellence, and refocus state government on serving families, instead of politicians.
Local and municipal governments are the training and proving ground for independent leaders. They allow new leaders to develop the skills, local support, record on policy, and campaign infrastructure to ultimately hold higher office. Service in local government also provides critical tests of character and principle.
We are advocating for liberty-based policies in 36 local governments to bring free-market solutions to bureaucracies that are known for over-taxing, over-regulating, over-promising and under-delivering.
From protecting you and your property, to educating your kids, to maintaining your streets, local governments directly impact our daily lives. We need to support principled leaders who want local government to serve you better.
If you are interested in the local leaders we are working with, discussing your own local policy issues, or searching for ways you can help advance free-market solutions in your community, please contact me at [email protected].