Another one of those “deserves a book – I’m going to give it 15 minutes before coffee” posts; so I apologize. It seems to me that there is a continuing trend toward consolidation of power away from local government and toward state government. I’m not enough of a student of Indiana history to know whether, if this sense is accurate, it’s something new or just one of those ebbs and flows you get. (For example, on the federal level, the tug of war between the Presidency and the Congress is cyclical.)
Mainly what brought this to mind was reading Kyle Stokes report on State Superintendent of Education, Tony Bennett’s, desire to give the State more power to run local school districts; along with a recent observation on this blog about efforts to increasingly regularize the functioning of trial courts under state, judicial governance.
There is also, off the top of my head, the Kernan-Shepard report which had a lot of (as yet mainly unimplemented) ideas for government reform that included state funding of the local judiciary. In 2008, the General Assembly passed legislation that took away local property tax levies as a source of school general fund revenues. The State also shifted funding for child welfare services from county property taxes to the State.
Like I said, a lot more to unpack than I have time for. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has felt a shift in power from local to State and whether that’s a good, bad, or indifferent.