Members of the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform didn’t abandon the cause after coming up with their far-reaching and meaningful recommendations in late 2007. The six months of work in compiling the report obviously became personal for the commission members – co-chairs Joe Kernan and Randall Shephard along with Ian Rolland and John Stafford of Fort Wayne, Sue Ann Gilroy and Louie Mahern of Indianapolis, and Adam Herbert of Bloomington.
Kernan, at the Indiana Chamber’s request, jumped in early this year with a series of video messages and BizVoice magazine article emphasizing the need for reform and discussing the findings/recommendations in specific issue areas. The former governor – along with Shepard, Stafford and Mahern, in particular – has been out on the speaking circuit ever since the report was released. They, along with others, recognize the challenge. It’s fair to say they (again, along with proponents who understand the importance of modernizing a system that has been in place for more than 150 years) wished more progress had taken place during the General Assembly session, but as political veterans they also realize little could be done with the runaway train that became homeowner property tax relief.
It’s no secret that Gov. Daniels will be focusing on this topic in his re-election bid and, if successful, in the 2009 legislative agenda. The status quo must change – at all levels. The numbers are in the report; the message is the same as those four words from Kernan upon its release – “If not now, when?”