Saturday, January 10, 2009

let the locals decide

I don't know what to think of Gov. Daniels' proposal to consolidate local government. My intuition and various anecdotes indicate that the current system is wasteful. But the academic literature on consolidation (to which I've contributed) is a very mixed bag-- filled with optimism that usually doesn't work out in practice.

Here's the latest on the Indiana statewide proposal-- in an article from the AP's Deanna Martin in the C-J...

Gov. Daniels makes an interesting point. Proponents of the status quo argue that locals ought to decide. Yesterday, Daniels noted that the current system was imposed by the state, taking control from the locals. So, one could argue that the state should take us back to the proverbial clean slate-- and then let locals decide after that. One presumes the status quo as the default; the other presumes the pre-state intervention as the default.

I like Daniels' line of argument better. If locals want it, they should be able to reinstate it.


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