Liquidating Local Governments

07.28.10 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[0]

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Recently, I've been seeing news reports on a controversial bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would eliminate about 2,500 local governments in the Keystone State and hand their responsibilities over to the state’s 67 county governments.

You’ve heard of the bridge that leads to nowhere? Well, this proposal is likely to lead nowhere for several reasons.

First, there will be serious opposition from local governments. Local governments have an obvious self-interest in wanting to survive and they will fight to avoid their own demise. Second, many citizens will fight to save their local municipalities because it is what they know and appreciate.

And third: The proposal to get rid of local governments in favor of the 67 county governments will take a long time to enact because it requires amending the Pennsylvania Constitution…which is a time consuming and complex process. To be specific, the two chambers of the Pennsylvania Legislature would have to say "yes" to the same bill in one session. Next, the legislature would have to say "yes" to the same bill in the next session. And then, the voters would have to give their thumbs up.

Keep in mind the general principle that the longer and more complex the process of approving something in politics…the greater the probability of defeat. The bottom line is that the proposal to get rid of local governments in Pennsylvania will not be enacted anytime soon. Given the likelihood of strong opposition from local governments and many citizens, it is unlikely to ever be enacted.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to


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