Inside INdiana Business has the good news today regarding MySmartgov’s success on Election Day. Many voters in the state supported moving township assessing duties to the counties — a move that was encouraged by the Kernan-Shepard Report and supported by the Indiana Chamber.
Voters in 31 of the 43 townships where township assessors still existed called for uniform assessments and fair taxation yesterday by voting to eliminate township assessors.
“Voters across the state cried ‘Enough!’ loudly and clearly,” said Marilyn Schultz, executive director of MySmartgov.org, an organization formed to advocate for streamlined local government. “Their votes were a resounding call for change in the antiquated, redundant and unfair way that property has been assessed in Indiana for far too long.”
The decisive vote is an unambiguous sign to members of the General Assembly that Hoosiers want to update and streamline their local government, most of which was established to meet 19th-century needs. Lawmakers will be asked during the upcoming legislative session to enact additional reforms recommended by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform.
A new organization – MySmartgov.org – is looking for individuals and civic organizations that are troubled by redundant and costly layers of local government in Indiana and want to see that changed. Currently, the Hoosier state has more layers of local government than all but two of the 11 states of similar size.
The focus of MySmartgov.org is to persuade the 2009 General Assembly to adopt the recommendations to streamline government made by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform. The ultimate goal is to make local government more fair and efficient.
Some steps already have been taken. The 2008 General Assembly abolished township assessing duties in 965 townships, shifting those duties to their respective county assessors. The Legislature also set qualifications for some county administrative officers; shifted funding for child welfare from the counties to the state; and established the requirement that all increases in taxes be reviewed by elected officials.
The executive director of MySmartgov.org is Marilyn Schultz, a 14-year veteran of the Indiana House of Representatives and state budget director under Govs. Kernan and Frank O’Bannon.