No one ever said local government reform, especially when talking about townships, is an easy topic to completely understand. There’s a complicated system that has 150-plus years of history — and complexity — behind it. Lots of numbers are thrown about. Many people like, and benefit, from the status quo despite the inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.
State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) is leading the charge in the House of Representatives in 2010 with a bill that would eliminate townships. In an interview that aired earlier today on the "Abdul in the Morning" radio program on WXNT (1430-AM in Indianapolis), DeLaney clearly explained why this is an important issue, why he has made it a top priority and why you should support his efforts. Take a few minutes to listen — and then act.
The Chamber’s Cameron Carter focuses his efforts on federal advocacy, as well as economic development and small business issues at the state level. He offered the following on the Chamber’s weekly radio appearance (9-9:30 on Wednesdays) on WXNT’s (1430 in Indianapolis) Abdul in the Morning program.
Federal stimulus: "It remains to be seen what it will do for business." Carter explains that the majority of the estimated $4.3 billion coming our way is tied to Medicaid, education and other dedicated purposes with approximately $200 million to be used at the discretion of state officials. He reiterates that deeper tax cuts and infrastructure investments would, in the Chamber’s view, have been more effective in providing immediate relief.
Local government reform: Carter compares today’s townships to the human appendix — "you don’t need it in this day and age." Asked about "selling" an issue that is not glamorous in nature, Carter offers that if "families don’t have money to spend, they don’t spend it." In addition providing more effective services, the Kernan-Shepard reforms are "about putting our finances in better order and making people more accountable."
Unemploment insurance trust fund: There are no easy answers to this growing problem, one the Chamber had identified more than a year ago. Eligibiliy loopholes must be addressed, along with benefit levels that are above the national average, with ultimately increased investment by employers (and potentially employees) helping make the system sustainable moving forward.
Our panel of media/blogging experts previewed election topics far and wide in the current issue of BizVoice. The roundtable discussion included a Congressional look, which didn’t make the cut for the print edition.
While three seats went from Republicans to Democrats in 2006, most pundits see fewer opportunities for change this time around. A few of the insghts:
The fourth straight matchup between Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel in the 9th District will again be the one to watch. Matt Tully of the Indianapolis Star says the past negative races kept both sides quieter early in the process, but expect a strong final push. Joshua Gillespie of Hoosier Access adds that a wildcard is some high-ranking Democrats upset with Hill’s endorsement of Barack Obama during the primary.
Republican challengers will likely embrace the energy issue. WXNT Radio’s Abdul Hakim-Shabazz wouldn’t be surprised at a compromise from the Democrats to take that chip away from the GOP, with the knowledge that an agreement today won’t yield substantial impacts for a number of years.
In the Senate as a whole, Jeff Pruitt of Fort Wayne Politics puts the over/under at five on seats switching to the Democrat side.
Pruitt notes it’s a longshot bid, but he says Demcrat challenger Mike Montagano is running well early against incumbent Mark Souder, seeking his eighth term.