The Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform and Collaboration was created in 2008 to recommend ways that the government can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local government operations, reduce taxes, and improve economic development.
Created by statute, the Commission is mandated to research restructuring and streamlining local governments and taxing districts, the realignment of services provided by state and local governments, reform the constitutional, statutory, and administrative laws to allow for collaboration, identify duplication of services, and to achieve cost savings for tax payers. In their report the Commission focused on three categories of recommendations including an examination of how to incentivize local government collaboration connected to service delivery, reforming and improving the state and local tax structure, and studying the feasibility of alternative or restructured service delivery systems.
The final report describes fifteen recommendations on behalf of the Commission. Under the umbrella of local government collaboration incentives the Commission recommends establishing a system of incentives to encourage local governments to collaborate on delivery of services, create seed funding to support start-up and transition costs associated with collaborative efforts, and incentivize municipalities to work together and use a single point of collection for income taxes.
When seeking to reform local and state tax structures the Commission recommends altering state law to enable tax revenue sharing between local government so economic development revenue can be equitably shared within a defined region. In addition, they recommend encouraging collaboration between the tax departments to support and incentivize projects aimed at local revenue sharing, overhaul joint economic development districts (JEDD) and zone (JEDZ) laws to make it easier for political subdivision to understand and use these tools, and to amend the Ohio Revised Code to limit the use of tax abatements for companies moving to Ohio.
Finally, while examining alternative service delivery models the Commission recommends encouraging regions to adopt regional economic development plans, create one-stop services for business and citizens, provide “home rule” legislation that will allow local governments to collaborate on service delivery, increase local government flexibility, create a clearinghouse of information for best practices and shared services, permit counties to regionalize, increase the role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and encourage the state library to research and store information on shared services.
Each of these recommendations is discussed in detail (with rationales and applicable research) in the Final Report available here.
The Commission has also provided an extensive annotated bibliography that identifies commissions and organizations (governmental and non-governmental) that conduct local government reform research in all states. Each bibliography is organized and divided into three groups local government collaboration incentives, local and state tax structures, and service delivery models. For each state that has reform initiatives dealing with these topics the Commission has identified the agency, report or initiative, provided a description of the reform efforts along with information to guide further research.
This bibliography is a great resource for government reform research.
Annotated bibliography for Alabama – Indiana is available here.
Annotated bibliography for Kentucky – Wisconsin is available here.
Other subcommittee reports and drafts are available on the Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform and Collaboration website, available here.