Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Consolidation of Public Institutions: A new series

Blog on consolidation of public institutions

The cost of government is in the news these days. We here daily that the Federal Government costs too much, doesn’t do enough, needs more money, must raise taxes, cannot raise taxes, and so on ad nauseam. We hear weekly about states in money trouble, which usually amounts to politicians blaming unions for the profligacy of politicians buying votes.

But we rarely hear about local governments other than the several cities that have or are waiting to go bankrupt. Here again we often hear politicians blaming everyone but their own poor decisions over sometimes many years. 

So, enter the folks calling for improvement in public figures: higher pay to get higher talents, recognize that we should pay them more than garbage collectors who, as necessary as they are, do not make multimillion dollar decisions with our tax money.

Even little satrapies like our borough and township governments can waste a lot of money through arrogant, ignorant, willful, mean-spirited, or stone stupid actions. (Shrewsbury Township has sustained 22 lawsuits in the last few years, which, among other things, have more than doubled the yearly insurance costs of the township.)

My opinion is that the first step in improving local government in PA is to consolidate boroughs, townships and school districts. First of all, we would save money. More on that in another blog. Second of all, we would have a larger cohort from which to elect representatives. While this in itself does not equal better quality, it makes it more likely.

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