Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Editorials

May 30, 2013

THEIR VIEW: Putting the brakes on reform

If you thought efforts to consolidate local government had slowed down in the recent legislative session, you would be wrong. The legislators stopped their progress and made consolidation harder.

Senate Enrolled Act 343 requires a consolidation proposal to be separately approved by voters in each jurisdiction, rather than in a single election. Opponents of an unsuccessful 2012 effort to merge local government in Evansville and Vanderburgh County joined Gov. Mike Pence in the bill-signing ceremony this month, celebrating passage of a law that will likely ward off the next effort to deliver services more efficiently in southwest Indiana, in northeast Indiana or anywhere else.

The fact that the Vanderburgh opponents won their fight by a 2-1 margin last year is evidence the legislation was unnecessary. The next consolidation effort will face almost insurmountable odds, regardless of its merit.

Under a provision pushed by the Vanderburgh County Farm Bureau, a merger of city and county government would require county residents living outside of the city to constitute one voting group and county residents within the city another. City residents, who pay both city and county taxes, essentially would be denied a vote as county residents.

Mark Lawrance, senior vice president for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said the process for consolidating township and county government, established in 2006, already was difficult to implement. Since the law went into effect, only three mergers have been approved. He said S.B. 343 was pushed in the last session as a tool for reorganization when, in fact, it will make it more difficult.

An effort to change the structure of county government in Allen County also was blocked in the last session. Senate Bill 475, made specific to Allen County after objections were raised by county officials statewide, would have allowed the county commissioners to adopt an ordinance to change the executive and legislative structure of county government, with approval of a majority of voters. It would have created a single county executive and a seven-member council with legislative duties.

The House voted to send the issue to a summer study committee.

“I think it’s totally unnecessary to study this further,” Lawrance said. “This issue has been studied time and again. We think what the legislature is almost saying is, we want county government the way we have it right now — we don’t want counties to have the option to try another way of organizing.”

The new law is a disappointing hurdle to local government reorganization. Since the Kernan-Shepherd local government reorganization recommendations were released in 2007, the state has made small but encouraging steps toward changing a government framework designed for the 19th century. Changing the rules to discourage an honest effort to eliminate duplication and improve efficiency is a step backward.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • THEIR VIEW: Littering shows disregard for surroundings Numbers tell a sad story about the disregard many Hoosiers have for their surroundings. Too many in Indiana don't care enough about the environment to prevent them from cluttering the countryside by carelessly tossing litter along the side of roadway

    April 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lawmakers fail to act on the issue After several years of fretting over Indiana's ongoing methamphetamine problem, the Indiana General Assembly continues to struggle for a solution. The issue seems to come up every session, given that Indiana leader the nation in meth lab seizures. Bu

    April 17, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Constitutional convention won't work today There seems to be a growing idea that we need a Constitutional convention. That, of course, is the other way to change the Constitution. Amendments have been used 27 times to make changes, ranging from limiting the president's term of office to the d

    April 16, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Health care fraud can't go unchecked National health care spending tops $2.7 trillion annually. That leaves a lot of room, and temptation, for abuse of a bureaucracy that administers medical services. Medicare and Medicaid scams may cost taxpayers more than $98 billion each year. Health

    April 15, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lessons from 2nd Fort Hood The shooting at Fort Hood last week has stirred up more debates about guns and mental health but adding little more than some oratorical dust. Consider these elements: • Army Spec. Ivan Lopez, who killed three and wounded 16 others before taking his

    April 10, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Fast lane for road projects Our interstate, national and state highways carry millions of people through and across Indiana each year. Those roadways form the physical connections among our communities. Not just people, but dollars. One state legislator says "half a trillion do

    April 9, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Doubts about Common Core doubts It wasn't the most solid week in the movement to swap out the school standards known as Common Core State Standards for a homegrown set of measures in Indiana. Sure, the General Assembly was able to get a bill to Gov. Mike Pence last month to scrap t

    April 8, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Parents, let's talk about money There are many talks that parents need to have with their children. They talk about bullying at school and talk about drugs. And of course, there's the always-dreaded "birds and the bees" talk. But there's a talk that many parents gloss over. And it'

    April 6, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Sporadic bouts of snow, rain and sun have kept most of us indoors the past few weeks. Now, weather forecasters tell us of better, warmer days, the kind where we can roll down the car windows, open the sunroof or hop on a motorcycle. But it's that tim

    April 4, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Early voter registration deadlines should go Sign up for nearly anything online and you'll have a confirmation of completion email within seconds. Sometimes it's so fast that it seems your inbox dings before you even hit enter. The processing of information has become almost instantaneous. Tha

    April 3, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should e-cigarette marketing be regulated like tobacco?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.