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Consolidation question should be uppermost of voters' minds: Joe Frolik

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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-11 06:31 AM
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Consolidation question should be uppermost of voters' minds: Joe Frolik
You don't have to hate government to realize that in Northeast Ohio, we have a lot of it and it costs a ton. Consider some numbers compiled by the Fund for Our Economic Future, the foundation-driven consortium to revitalize this region:

Across the 16 counties represented by its members, there are 868 local governments, including school districts and special-purpose districts. That's roughly one government for every 4,000 people.

Between 2002 and 2007, the most recent year for which comprehensive totals were available, the cost of local government grew from $16 billion to $20 billion in a region with total economic activity of about $170 billion. That 25 percent increase isn't out of whack with the growth in local government sending nationally, but while the U.S. population was growing 4.5 percent during those years, Northeast Ohio saw no growth.

"It's the silent killer of our economy," says Brad Whitehead, the Fund's president.
His members have given away $609,000 in the past two years to seed government collaborations. The Fund leads a network of public officials, government employees, academics and concerned citizens beating the drum for efficiency.

"If we reduce the cost of local government by even 5 percent a year, that's $1 billion a year," says Whitehead. "That would probably pay for a college education for every high school graduate in Northeast Ohio. Or it would allow Case to triple its research budget. And what are the two best predictors of economic growth? Education and innovation."
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Cleveland's Largest Newspaper: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/06/cons...
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