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Too much government?

Interesting information recently was released from the U.S. Census Bureau ranking Kansas 49th in the nation, which includes the District of Columbia, for the number of government entities compared to the population.

Kansas has 2,084 general-purpose governments (cities, townships, and counties) serving 2.7 million residents. That’s an average of 1,332 residents per government, compared to a national average of 7,725. North Dakota and South Dakota have the dubious honors of 50th and 51st out of 51 states/districts.

According to Kansas Speaker of the House Mike O’Neal, while Kansas’ population has increased 17.4 percent since the 1980 census, local government employment has increased 65 percent.

Another interesting notation is this spiraling imbalance doesn’t even include state government.

And now, at this time of crisis when Governor Sebelius is planning to suspend fund transfers to counties and cities, perhaps the state government should take a hard look at its expenses and make some cuts.

How many times have we discovered changes in operations or policies, typically on state and federal levels, implemented only to create more government jobs or as a way to maintain a department and personnel?

At some point, taxpayers are going to have to be heard. We middle-class and lower-income people are tired of paying more than our share to cover government shortfalls. I’ve heard many times that wealthy taxpayers have ways to protect their wealth, thus paying less than the rest of us who have not amassed as much.

Another way to cut public spending would be to consolidate school districts or at least central offices. I’ve asked this before and I’ll keep on asking — Do we need five central offices with five superintendents? Would it be more efficient to have one county central office with building principals or assistant superintendents? The county central office would be in charge of ordering supplies and equipment.

I understand the importance of delivering services we’ve all become accustomed but at some point the taxpayers’ wells are going to run dry. Most of us already are tax poor because of property taxes and income taxes. How much more can we take?

— susan berg

Last modified Jan. 21, 2009

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