Township Reform: Senators Do Their Own Harm Before Heading Home

Look up the definition of "currently under the radar screen," and you might find an image of the Indiana Senate. With House Democrats bolstering the Illinois economy, little to no attention is being paid to the other side of the third floor of the Statehouse.

But before wrapping up its first half of the session, senators managed to do their own harm by failing to pass two important local government reform measures. SB 405 (eliminating township boards) was defeated 28-21 and SB 303 (giving counties the option to go to a single county executive instead of three commissioners) went down 27-22.

What were they thinking? It’s been clearly demonstrated — over and over and over — that townships waste taxpayer dollars, fail to effectively provide basic services and are a relic of days gone by. Townships don’t work in Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne or the many less populous areas throughout the state.

Yet, some legislators in more rural districts made the case to their colleagues that, and I paraphrase, "our township folks are good people; it’s OK that they hire their relatives and so what if they break the rules every now and then and sit on money that could be used for schools, libraries and other local services."

As a colleague described it, politics and emotion won out over common sense. We expected more, much more, from our senators.

Lawmakers should have listened to two trustees (one former, one current) who had a clear message.

One thought on “Township Reform: Senators Do Their Own Harm Before Heading Home

  1. I think the situation is much more disgusting than you describe it here. If the situation were simply that urban Senators wanted to be kind to rural Senators, a compromise bill could have been drafted that affected only urban townships.
    The plain fact is that Indiana Legislators love their sacred township governments more than they love their own families. Even though Republican Senators are willing to tear apart school systems without remorse, they will not tolerate the slightest offense to their beloved township trustees.
    This self absorbed attitude of the Legislators is quite offensive.

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