Counties: They Matter Because …

Over the last decade, we've shared many examples of the need for local government reform. At the county level, the focus has been on a lack of accountability for numerous officials and a governance structure (three commissioners as the executive body) that simply doesn't make sense.

Why does it matter? Because counties do make a difference. Add up the numbers and they:

  • Own and maintain 44 percent of the roadways
  • Spend $68.3 billion on health care services
  • Dish out a combined $472 billion on law enforcement, education, construction and human services
  • Employ 3.3 million people Feature 19,300 elected officials

Just imagine if it was all done more efficiently.

Indiana Unemployment Rate Remains at 9.8%

From the Department of Workforce Development:

Indiana’s preliminary seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate showed little change in October, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported today.

Indiana’s preliminary rate of 9.8 percent marks an increase of 0.1 percent from a revised September rate of 9.7 percent (+0.1 percent). Indiana’s month-to-month change is considered statistically insignificant. The national unemployment rate increased in October 0.4 percent to 10.2 percent.

"Indiana’s unemployment rate has held relatively steady for the past three months despite a steadily climbing national rate," said Teresa Voors, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. "However, a projected soft holiday retail season combined with a slump in manufacturing and hospitality employment tempers my optimism concerning the coming months."

Seasonally-adjusted total non-farm employment in Indiana declined by 1,600 in October. Indiana reported the largest employment declines in manufacturing (-5,000), mostly attributed to a slowdown in domestic automobile manufacturing following a temporary "Cash for Clunkers" spike, and leisure and hospitality (-5,900). Sectors reporting large job increases include: construction (4,000), professional and business services (2,200) and financial activities (2,200).

Indiana continues to report the lowest unemployment rate of its neighboring states. Illinois increased 0.5 percent to 11.0 percent. Ohio’s unemployment rate grew 0.4 percent to 10.5 percent. Kentucky increased 0.3 percent to 11.2 percent. Michigan decreased 0.2 percent to 15.1 percent.

Additionally, here is a county breakdown of unemployment figures.

Hat tip to Inside INdiana Business.

California Counties Not Feeling So Golden About Sacramento

Like all states, Indiana has had its own internal debate recently, namely in dealing with the elimination of township governments. So we’re certainly not being sanctimonious here, but it seems California may be dealing with even more contention these days. In addition to its ongoing budgetary woes, its counties may be plotting a revolt in Sacramento. To put their anger into Hollywood context, pretend the counties are Christian Bale and the state government is a distracting cinematographer:

Counties in California say they’ve had enough – and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

In what amounts to a Boston Tea Party-style revolt against the state Capitol, they’re threatening to withhold money.

Los Angeles is considering such an option. And Colusa County supervisors said they authorized payment delays for February.

"We didn’t vote on it, because I don’t think anybody wants to go to jail," Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann said. Continue reading