COLUMN: State advisory commission tackles intergovernmental issues

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District 47 State Senator

The Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations is charged with enhancing coordination and cooperation between state and local governments.

The commission conducts periodic reviews of the effects of any federal or state legislation or any court decisions on local government entities, provides a forum for consultation among state and local government officials, and conducts research on intergovernmental issues.

In addition, the commission studies the appropriate roles and responsibilities of the state, counties, municipalities, townships and other political subdivisions in providing 911 and enhanced emergency services throughout the state.

I authored the legislation that created this commission in 1995 and have served as a member since its inception.

The commission recently met in Indianapolis to hear the results of a 2012 survey on intergovernmental issues that was administered to more than 1,100 local officeholders. Conducted by Indiana University’s Center for Urban Policy and the Environment, the extensive survey results help state lawmakers to better understand issues facing local units of government so current laws can be modified and new laws enacted to help local communities thrive and grow.

Public officials from around the state attended the meeting to hear the survey results and offer input as to what they would like to see accomplished by the commission.

Among the top issues identified as major problems for local communities were job loss, unemployment, overall economic conditions including job quality and business attraction and retention, and local road funding.

Many who testified requested that the commission focus on economic development tax credits and incentives to identify what works best. In response, the commission will meet jointly with the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee to review the effectiveness of local economic development tools such as tax increment financing and tax abatement programs.

In addition, commission members set goals to examine fiscal benchmarking including all sources of revenue for local governments, local-option income taxes including a review on the collection and distribution of those taxes, funding options for local roads, continued oversight of 911 call centers, and ways to further improve government transparency and efficiency.

Resulting action by the commission will include recommendations for legislation to be considered by the next session of the General Assembly.

For more information on meetings of the IACIR, go to www.iacir.spea.iupui.edu. As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas on issues that matter most to you. Please contact me at (800) 382-9467 or s47@iga.in.gov.

Young represents Perry County in the Indiana Senate. The website link in this story was incorrect as published in our print edition and has been corrected here.