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Our view: Mayors tell lawmakers to ‘Trust local’

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Updated: February 23, 2013 6:06AM



A distressing trend has taken shape in the General Assembly over recent years. State lawmakers are passing laws with insufficient consultation with local government leaders and scant thought to how those laws ultimately will affect cities, towns and neighborhoods.

But an initiative by the Indiana Conference of Mayors seeks to encourage state lawmakers to be more responsive to local interests and more focused on the priorities of local government. The nonpartisan Conference of Mayors started its “Trust Local” campaign in November to get the attention of state legislators by raising awareness of the need for the Legislature to pay more attention to local government concerns.

The needs of cities and towns too often don’t get the airing they should within the Indiana Legislature. The property tax caps, now enshrined in the state constitution, are one of the most egregious examples of legislation state lawmakers passed without thought to local government needs.

Municipal leaders were left with few good options for replacing the lost revenue that pays for crucial government services.

The mayors’ group has announced three key issues local government leaders want state lawmakers to concentrate on in the 2013 legislative session: infrastructure funding, methamphetamine prevention and the cleaning up of foreclosed properties.

“We think a lot of the decisions made in Indianapolis over the last couple of years really belong home with us,” said Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura, president of the Conference of Mayors. “There is a line in the sand between local responsibilities and state responsibilities, and lately, that line has been drifting toward the state.”

With local government, the adage about there being no Republican or Democratic way of filling a pothole prevails.

State lawmakers have allowed partisanship and political wrangling to get in the way of solving problems.

The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette



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