• SSTI poll shows overwhelming support for innovation platform

    More than 90 percent of the electorate support expanded efforts to strengthen the key elements of a knowledge-driven economy. Members can sign up for a webinar on how the poll can inform your communications.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Consolidation of local governments could provide new economic development outlets

August 20, 2020
By: Connor LaVelle

Improved prospects for economic development, as opposed to concerns about government efficiency, can play an important role in building support for local government consolidation efforts. The importance of economic opportunities in government consolidation was a key conclusion within Ball State University’s recently published policy brief, Indiana’s Government Modernization Act & Local Government Consolidation Experiences: Process and Politics. The brief examined seven consolidation efforts that occurred in Indiana between 2008 and 2012 and explored the preexisting conditions of the areas.

While each consolidation attempt had unique variables, Ball State’s report did reveal several common elements. Contrary to previously held beliefs, consolidation processes are not necessarily born out of a crisis climate; some were found to be the product of a consensus between two governments to find new ways of solving their shared problems.

Ball State also found that the reason for consolidation was an important factor in the effort’s success in finding voter support. Two consolidation efforts that were approved by voters were presented as a solution to the areas’ development issues. Unsuccessful consolidation referenda instead promoted the efforts as a solution to government inefficiencies and cost saving. Likewise, consolidation attempts that included shifting tax burdens within the area also proved unpopular with voters, leading to the dismissal of the consolidation effort.

Of the seven cases Ball State explored, two ended with voters supporting consolidation. Although each case of local government consolidation carries with it unique variables, Ball State’s Process and Politics provides a solid examination of what factors can benefit from government consolidation efforts.

Indianaeconomic development