Column: Local government officials must set economic priorities


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Did you hear them, the howls of pain from local officials on announcement that the Gov. Mike Pence administration would phase out their golden goose, the business personal property tax? The governor thinks it will level the playing field, attract investment, create jobs.

Please know that the anguish is genuine. The amount of revenue to be lost — about a billion a year statewide — cannot be finessed. County and city officeholders may have to set priorities; they may have to decide what local government should and should not be doing and then explain it to a constituency.

If you assume that your councilman is doing that already, you might double-check. In my county, public officials have reduced responsibility to a scheme: 1) a budget crisis is spotted on the horizon; 2) the political and fiscal costs are carefully tallied; 3) everybody sits tight until the only option left is to raise taxes.

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