NEW HAVEN, Ind. (AP) — Gov. Mitch Daniels’ efforts to change the way local
government is structured could meet some resistance in the 2011 General
Assembly session despite Republican control of both chambers.
Many Republicans say they’re hesitant to make change Daniels says are
“We’ve got so many other big problems that local government reform should be
put on the back burner,” Republican state Rep. Phyllis Pond told The Journal
Gazette of Fort Wayne.
Daniels says revamping local government will improve its quality. A 2007
report by former Gov. Joe Kernan, a Democrat, and Indiana Supreme Court
Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard made 27 recommendations.
Though lawmakers have agreed to eliminate most township assessors, they’ve
rejected calls to abolish township government altogether and transfer duties
of county treasurers, recorders and other offices to a county executive.
They’ve also frowned on calls to reorganize school districts so each has at
least 2,000 students and moving municipal elections to an even-year election
Daniels has chafed at resistance to the changes, saying he was
“disappointed” in GOP members who rebuffed some measures in 2009.
Incoming House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, promised a healthy
debate and said lawmakers will be allowed to vote on the proposals.
“Those issues will not receive the orchestrated demise that they received
under the prior management,” he said, referring to their lack of progress
while Democrats controlled the House. “We’ll let democracy take its course.”
Mark Lawrence, who lobbies on the issue for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce,
said the fact that Hoosiers voted to place property tax caps into the
Indiana Constitution will aid the debate.