State government reform panel: downsi...

State government reform panel: downsize, consolidate

There are 121 comments on the The Indianapolis Star story from Dec 11, 2007, titled State government reform panel: downsize, consolidate. In it, The Indianapolis Star reports that:

Sweeping new recommendations to slash the number of elected officials and government units in Indiana counties spurred both hope and fear Tuesday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Indianapolis Star.

Elphaba

Orange, VA

#82 Dec 12, 2007
Herbert Ford wrote:
Look at Mitchie goonies, that will be the same for the counties. This is a bunch of B/S. It is the school corporations and the government fault that the property taxes are so high. Look at the tax abatement Lafatette gave SIA,(NO JOBS). What we need is someone who doesn't care about politics in these offices. I bet there are some CPA's that can straighten this mess out. There isn't anyone in Indiana with any brains to be a county czar. This recommendation should be left up to the voters, not a bouch of hasbeens. Look at the finincial mess the governor has cost. He is trying to be like his buddie (Bush) or they might be brothers. This plan to consolidate more schools are a bunch of B/S too. It would take the prestige out of the community. SO LETS VOTES THESE SO CALLED LIFERS OUT OF OUR STATE GOVERNMENT. WE HAVE ENOUGH LEACHES THERE. VOTE AMERICAN NOT FOR JUST ONE PARTY, ARE THE PARTIES PAYING YOU TO VOTE FOR THEM.
For the most part CPAs in Indiana are oblivious to the crisis in our government. None of our state and local government spending is held to any real accountable standard and how many CPAs are you aware of that stand up and call out the the Enron-like going ons throughout our state? Heck call the Indiana CPA Society and ask them what their position is. Give me a break they don't have a clue, and because of their disinterest in actually being a part of the longer term solution they become even more irrelevant in Indiana.

“Your Gods' Rules not mine.”

Since: Apr 07

Indianapolis

#83 Dec 12, 2007
An elected Trustee wrote:
If you are not making policy, you should be appointed.
Here's what they do -
Recorder - Maintains deeds, mortgages, etc. Not rocket science and is totally under rules and regulations. APPOINT
Auditor - Pays biils, maintains budgets various other duties. Totally under rules and regulations. APPOINT
Surveyor - Surveys. Should never be a politician
Coroner - Checks on the dead. Should you not have a medical degree?
County & Township Assessors - Assesses property as prescribed by the lawmakers. APPOINT!!!
Clerk - Very imortant job, however does not make the rules. Does what she is told. APPOINT!!!
Commisioners - Make policy!!! Should not be given to one and one only. They need accountability.
This is common sense stuff people - take emotion out of it. Elected local offices are a burden.
I know people who voted for Mary Catherine Barton as Surveyor for a JOKE because she is in all likelihood certifiably insane.

So hiring qualified people to run technical sections or ones requiring specific training or expertise would not be a bad idea.
LookAround

Corning, NY

#84 Dec 12, 2007
I've posted about this here before. I grew up in Virginia, where the local government system is similar to what is proposed here. Everything below state government is either the county or an incorporated city. Urban counties have an elected county supervisor with an elected board of commsioners. Other counties have a board of supervisors that serve both legislative and executive functions. But all schools, library, parks, transporation, assessment, and other functions come under the ultimate budgetary and TAXING authority of the county-level goverment. It makes it much easier to participate in your local government, because you hold those few county supervisors responsible for all of it.(There are also elected school boards, but they are responsible for planning, curriculum, etc., only - their budgets and any necessary tax increases are subject to the approval of the county supervisors). Cities work basically the same way, but they are considered separate entities from the counties. There are also towns, but their budgets and taxing authority lie with the county.

So there are very few taxing authorities in Virginia. That's what Indiana needs - consolidation of taxing authorities. You can go ahead and elect whomever you want - school boards, assessors, clerks, library boards, etc.- but consolidate the taxing at one level in each city or county. Then we know exactly who to praise or blame for the level of taxes we pay to the county. And when one person or council is responsible, they'll make darn sure your taxes don't go up too much, whether it's for schools, libraries, roundabouts, whatever.

Long story short, Virginia has been consistently named one of the best state economies and has one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the nation. Indiana has not been. We need to LOOK AROUND at Virginia and other state examples of how to run a lean, efficient system of state and local government.
CPA

Carmel, IN

#85 Dec 12, 2007
Elphaba wrote:
<quoted text>
For the most part CPAs in Indiana are oblivious to the crisis in our government. None of our state and local government spending is held to any real accountable standard and how many CPAs are you aware of that stand up and call out the the Enron-like going ons throughout our state? Heck call the Indiana CPA Society and ask them what their position is. Give me a break they don't have a clue, and because of their disinterest in actually being a part of the longer term solution they become even more irrelevant in Indiana.
Do you care to enlighten us as to the enron goings on in the state? Or do you not have any facts...just speculation.
Jim

Glenmont, OH

#86 Dec 12, 2007
I think townships should get out of the poor relief/assessor business but they should be responsible for fire protection and zoning. Otherwise, we will have to create new fire districts that will only raise taxes!
allforit

West Lebanon, IN

#87 Dec 12, 2007
People (government inhabitants) who don't move this plan forward aggressively are NOT thinking about what's best for Indiana and all of its citizens. They only think about how they can preserve their political power and prestige (and cushy jobs) until they can be re-elected. It is way past time for a major reconfiguration. Who has the guts to make it happen?
Old Jim Lebanon IN

Florence, KY

#88 Dec 12, 2007
An elected Trustee wrote:
While deep respect for the office of Trustee and Assessor should be given for their work over the years, WE NEED TO MOVE ON! They were a nessesary office in the past. But the assessment proceedures have changed. We are a market value state. An appointed Assessor WOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE and could be FIRED!!! We can't Currentlyly, I can name 25 assessor's who barely know where their office is. The job of Trustee is over too; It does not help theose that need assisstance to just hand them money just because they qualify in writing. Trustee's are not social workers. Let those trained to handle social work do the job, shirt that money to Welfare and centralize the work. Maybe then you will see less fraud and waste. Some Townships hire underqualified and over paid workers to the work that a social worker should be doing. And as far as cemetary maintanence and paying bills, let the county do it. Probably much cheaper than these Trustees do it. Since several Trustees hire Family and friends to do it on a contract basis.
About those 25 assessors-you think Mitch is privatizing? Contracts are being handed out to Manatron, Appraisal Research, etc. Does anyone have a list of the Assessment Contractors for the 25?

Boone County inked a 951,000, 4 year assessment contract to a local firm earlier this year. The personal connections to former county elected officials are interesting.

Our current Assessor was County Clerk. Dumped an election system that worked, recommended a contract with no performance bond to a company that went bankrupt. Now the county council and commissioners are trying to find new voting machines. The federal and state Voting Act money is gone.

Those currently in office have no interest in an informed electorate. Just vote for your party favorites, if you vote.

Soon your local government offices will need moats and drawbridges to fend off the peasants with pitchforks.

ne obliviscaris
Mike

Crown Point, IN

#89 Dec 12, 2007
My radical view is to take all politicians (federal, state, etc.) and put them on the firing line. We can then elect officials who actually might be able to reduce spending by putting money into real programs that are necessary rather than those that are stupid and ridiculous. The continued increases in taxes is beyond ridiculous.

I think everyone would be shocked at where some of the tax dollars go. Of course, this information is either buried in websites so far down that they either cannot be found or you have to spend hours looking or is not made publicly available.

Americans, let's get our heads out of our a**es and make our so-called policitical leaders accountable. Right now, they think they are above us normal Americans. An example of this would be the retirement program for Congressmen/women in Washington. While they waste away of Social Security, they have their own little pretty package that they are guaranteed.

Hopefully, the rest of us are not just putting more money into their greedy little hands and get nothing out of it when we retire.

Wake up Americans!
taxpayer

Greenfield, IN

#90 Dec 12, 2007
Where in the commission report does it address cuts at the state level? Pork belly spending, accountability. I believe the state and Governor Daniels needs to take a look at those under his watch as well.
Confused citizen

Kokomo, IN

#91 Dec 12, 2007
So how many taxing units are there - 2400, 2700, 3000? Seems to depend on who is counting. Part of the problem perhaps?
taxpayer

Greenfield, IN

#92 Dec 12, 2007
OK, but you did not factor in payment for who will be doing the work.+/- than $30,000 annual salary. My thought will be more.
citizen wrote:
<quoted text>Ok, I just did some Simple math here folks. I took all of the elected officials we have now and subtracted the ones mentioned to be eliminated. After that i multiplied that number with an average salary of 30,000 dollars and came up with a figure of 175,230,000. That is a savings people. That figure should be higher since my trustee and assessor makes around 60,000 dollars. Come on people, all i heard this year is that were fed up with property taxes and something should be done. This should of been done yr's ago and we wouldn't be having this forum now.
Ann Coulter

Glenwood, IN

#93 Dec 12, 2007
Now THERE'S a novel idea! Why did it take so long?

“I am smart and thoughtfull”

Since: Oct 07

Indy

#94 Dec 12, 2007
Our current elected officials do not have the political will nor the moral standing to make the necessary changes.
it will be up to us to make the changes next election cycle. remeber their ineptness then.
Feed up w policitians

Anderson, IN

#95 Dec 12, 2007
NO way this will happen! Too many idiots think they have life terms and don't have to listen to the voters (aka, Pat Bauer!).
Hell, you people didn't even a(and some STILL don't) like daylight savings time! What makes you think the government would become more efficient?
The township trustee positions are way out of age! WHY are they duplicating services?
Get rid of politicians and make them have TERM LIMITS!! That would be a good start!
Old Jim Lebanon IN

Florence, KY

#96 Dec 12, 2007
I went today to read IC 6-1 where the IDLGF is supposed to certify property tax assessment vendors and contractors. I read the code.

Went to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance website.

FAQ-s February 2007. They will be certifying vendors and listing them on their website.

Approved Vendors button-No approved vendors 03/29/07.

Mitch needs to et the state departments working before he goes after the locals!

This whole assessment deal is a comedy from top to bottom.
Westside Dave

Indianapolis, IN

#97 Dec 12, 2007
I keep reading let the voters speak. Let the voters decide on spending. Let the voters do this and do that. After these last elections, with what, only a 27% turn out rate and your willing to let only 27% of the population decide who runs what?????? Term limits??? They are already in place. They are called elections!!!!! If the voters would: 1) vote 2) get educated on those running 3) quit voting straight party lines..then those not doing the job would be voted out instead of being reelected time after time. Rather you have elected positoins or appointed positions, there is always going to be family and friends hired. The appointed person hires their family friends to positions, who turn around and hire their family and friends. The cycle continues no matter if appointed or elected. As for getting someone fired from a county job. Take a look at the Marion County Sheriff Department after an election and a new party gets in. There are more moving vans in front of 40 S Alabama than what brought the Colts to Indy. Most of them were fired/replaced by family and friends and the sad part most of them were doing a fine job. Most county jobs are at will positions, so if you talk to the right person then it is not hard to get someone fired. The plan released is just recommendations. Which means there is room for approvements, changes or throwing some ideas out. Most of what I read is good and needs to be looked at very hard. Some point to Indianapolis/Marion County and say look how that consolidation failed. It failed because it was half a** done. All agencies should have been consolidated in the begining. Not this, lets keep the police and sheriff seperate becasue we like the people in charge right now (can you say republicans), but lets put the council together. Lets also extend the township government so more of our friends and family can have jobs. Now lets remember the creator of this plan was the God Father of the Indiana Republican Party...Richard Lugar. All sang his praise when the plan was rolled out. The plan continued half a** for over 30 years. Then the unthinkable happened. A democrat got elected mayor of Indy. He tried to finish this wonderful plan called Uni-Gov. But suddenly the republicans decided this was a bad plan and fought and fought to try and defeat the plan. So I guess what I am trying to say, is as long as big business runs the government, it does not matter what we decide on. Big government or little government, there is going to be the hiring of family and friends, each party will take care of their own and the citizens of the state will continue to flee till Indiana looks like it did when government was first established back in the 1700's and those left will be happy and always say "why change anything". Wake up people. Change is good. At lest try it. Then if it does not work, you can go back to the good ole days!!!!
Ditch Mitch

Middleton, WI

#98 Dec 12, 2007
Mitch has sent his relection material to most everyone in the state. Get it send him money. Simple solutions send him money. This is a scam. We ahould send him on a rail back to Washington DC. He comes in here and tells everyon what they want to hear.Gives money back by the inventory tax, give big business abatements,Tif and then raise your tax in sales and Loit to continue the unfair property tax system..

Why to get relected.

He should go back to Japan....

Send this rich man a blank envelope please.....

Ditch Mitch
Naaawww

Carmel, IN

#99 Dec 12, 2007
Ditch Mitch wrote:
Mitch has sent his relection material to most everyone in the state. Get it send him money. Simple solutions send him money. This is a scam. We ahould send him on a rail back to Washington DC. He comes in here and tells everyon what they want to hear.Gives money back by the inventory tax, give big business abatements,Tif and then raise your tax in sales and Loit to continue the unfair property tax system..
Why to get relected.
He should go back to Japan....
Send this rich man a blank envelope please.....
Ditch Mitch
That was a nice summary from a redneck hoosier that cant deal with change.

Thanks, but mitch has my vote.
Terry Doppler

Indianapolis, IN

#100 Dec 12, 2007
What a breath of clean air. If the political machine at the state house will do something besides complain and move forward on this plan then we may see some relief in taxes and spending. It is time we get beyond the day light savings fight and fix what is wrong with Indiana. If Pat Bauer and company can look at what is right about this plan and do something it will be a great moment in history. The reality is however they are probably already planning how to put it in the waste basket of good idea's.
CBB

Indianapolis, IN

#101 Dec 12, 2007
Ditch Mitch wrote:
Mitch has sent his relection material to most everyone in the state. Get it send him money. Simple solutions send him money. This is a scam. We ahould send him on a rail back to Washington DC. He comes in here and tells everyon what they want to hear.Gives money back by the inventory tax, give big business abatements,Tif and then raise your tax in sales and Loit to continue the unfair property tax system..
Why to get relected.
He should go back to Japan....
Send this rich man a blank envelope please.....
Ditch Mitch
RELAX, Have another beer.

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