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LETTER: State’s surplus could meet some of counties’ needs

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I am writing your newspaper to address an upcoming problem that could affect every citizen in the state of Indiana.

At this time the nation is approaching a fiscal problem that almost every American is aware of. At the same time our state is sitting on a large surplus, even though they will admit they are not sure how it was acquired.

But at the same time the counties in our state have had to endure more and more unfunded mandates and the curtailing of certain operations, all in order to make the state look good.

Our local sheriff departments have also had to endure new unfunded mandates that may cause in the long term a declining of the public’s safety. The overall infrastructure at the county level is now showing the wear and tear that is going to snowball shortly unless our citizens wake up and see the real picture unfolding covertly in front of them.

This will first become evident in the smaller populated counties.

Here is the problem, we as Indiana citizens have been led to believe that the state is in great shape, but in reality, the state is made up entirely of counties and the counties are being over stressed because of the fiscal problems put on them by the state. Therefore the state is not as financially sound as we have been led to believe. The illusion brought on by the serendipitous surplus needs to be addressed now. A large portion of any surplus should be returned to the counties before declining infrastructure jeopardizes our citizens’ safety at the local level.

I am trying to get the state legislature to do what is right and propose a bill that any excess surplus should be returned to the counties before any other allocations are dispersed.

In closing, please understand that I am not affiliated in this effort with any organization or political party. My problem is that I have to play politics in order to be heard at the statehouse. And what I am asking for is this.

If our counties, all 92 of them, make up the body of the state, then why does the state not want its body in top fiscal shape? Also, check with your county auditors about unfunded mandates. This is a growing problem that no one seems to have a solution for.

As for me, I will try to visit as many Indiana counties as possible trying to get support at every stop with the message to our citizens that they have the power to make those at the state level understand “our counties deserve better.”

JAMES M. CARTER
Tell City