Governor Tom Vilsack this morning (Tuesday) convened a 12-member panel of lawmakers to come up with new for governments in Iowa to operate — and deliver services. Vilsack says as he visited individually with each of the committee members this past weekend, he got the sense all were very serious about the task, and considered it an opportunity to leave a legacy to the state. Vilsack says he feels the same. “For the members of this group, I think there is an understanding to make significant and meaningful decisions will require political skill and courage.” Representative Don Shoultz, a democrat from Waterloo, told Vilsack changes in government operations are in order. Shoultz says the problem isn’t that counties and cities can’t work together, it’s that they don’t. He says that means state officials should come up with incentives to encourage local governments to share resources. Senator Jeff Angelo, a republican from Creston, told Vilsack everyone is interested in finding ways to save taxpayer dollars. “A lot of these jurisdictions that we serve under were created even before we were born and I’m not quite sure why we have to have to continue to have alliegance to the current jurisdictions,” Angelo says. “If we were to recreate government today, if were to just absolutely start from scratch, what would it look like?” But Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a republican from Mount Ayr, says his constituents don’t see a new government entity as a step in the right direction.Others suggested the committee should decide which services should be financed by government, and then decide which services should be paid for with property taxes. Committee members and the governor all stressed the need not to “point fingers” at one another when controversial ideas are raised in the group.
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