Monday, February 15, 2010

Still Hope for Indiana Polycentricity

Indiana is still trying to figure out what to do with township governments in the state. To simplify massively: the dominant push is towards centralizing government to the county level, and the conventional view for the existence of pushback is that township-elected politicians/bureaucrats are undermining rationality. I agree that there is a problem when revenues are collected at the township and services are provided by the county, but I would go towards the route of decentralizing services from the county back to the townships, rather than centralizing the revenues to the county. A matter of taste, I guess. In the meantime, the absurdly idealistic goals for this process are the primary hurdle:
Still, a lack of direction hasn’t stopped chatter about nixing township government. Legislators have narrowed the number of possible solutions to about three: abolishing township government completely, getting rid of township boards but keeping elected trustees in each township or letting a voter referendum decide on the changes. But perhaps the most intractable problem for state leaders seems to be finding a solution that fits the needs of all 1,008 townships in the state.
Yes, a Pareto-improving state policy for >1K entities probably will be a challenge.

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