Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Brazen state legislators

March 16, 2009
Former Nuvo editor and columnist Harrison Ullman has been dead nearly nine years, but his axiom that no worse legislature exists than the one on Capitol Avenue seems particularly apt during this term.

One reason is the extraordinary resistance by lawmakers to consolidate local government. Attempts to eliminate township government have gone all but nowhere, and some legislators are beginning to openly admit that they want to perpetuate the relic because it helps keep them in office.

How are they getting away with this?

Because voters mistakenly think most of the necessary local government reform has been accomplished, according to Mark Lawrance, a senior vice president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which has led in pushing the reforms. Or because voters are more worried about other issues.

When the case for reform is explained, most voters want it, Lawrance adds. Recall that voters eliminated nearly all township assessors when given the chance on the November ballot, he reminds.

It is becoming apparent that reform is going to happen in increments rather than as a revolution, Lawrance says.

What do you think? Do voters want reform?
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