Ohio can encourage regional collaboration

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 12/04/2004 - 11:40.

An editorial in this morning's Dayton Daily News makes a good point. The state legislature would be taking the wrong step by eliminating the local government fund. At the same time, the state legislature can use the local government fund as leverage to encourage more regional collaboration.

In a recent report that we completed at REI, we found that Ohio's public service employment per capita is higher than comparable states. Ohio has 3.1 public administrative jobs per 1,000 population, compared to 2.7 in Pennsylvania and 2.5 in Michigan. (Cuyahoga County has an even bigger misalignment.) In other words, our "public overhead" is higher than it needs to be. Working to improve efficiencies will result in savings of millions of tax dollars a year.

You can download a copy of the report here.

So the Dayton Daily News helps our cause by promoting the idea of regional collaboration:

The level of savings that could be achieved by regional cooperation — at least in the near term — hardly would begin to offset any dramatic funding loss. But Rep. Husted is on the right track. If state funding were conditioned on intergovernmental cooperation, that could get regional consolidation of services going in earnest.

A system could be developed that financially rewards governments that combine efforts. Special incentives could be created to promote cooperation across all sorts of jurisdictional lines. Moreover, the General Assembly could consider other measures to give local governments more control over their budgets — including relaxing collective bargaining laws that give outside mediators power to impose contract settlements that local communities can't afford.

You can read the editorial here (Free registration is required.)

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