Redesigning Kansas County Government: Follow-up

Last week I reported on a talk that Kansas Senator Kansas Senator Chris Steineger, Democrat from Kansas City, delivered to some 300 citizens at Americans For Prosperity‘s Defending the American Dream Summit in Wichita.

One of the things Steineger believes is that Kansas has too many counties, a legacy from the days of travel to the county seat by horseback. So I got to thinking about the consolidation of two counties into one and some of the issues that would be involved.

In a follow-up call with the senator, he mentioned that even ten to 12 counties could join together to form one new county. How would we decide how to form these new counties? Where would the county seat be? Steineger’s answer is to form new counties based around economic development engines.

He also said that several factors are coming into play that make the redesign of the county map in Kansas more likely: First, the state is eliminating state revenue sharing with counties. Second, the state is eliminating legislative barriers to consolidation.

There’s no central place in the legislature focused on county redesign in Kansas, Steineger added. If citizens are interested in seeing this idea proceed, they should talk to their house or senate member.

As the senator said in his talk to the AFP summit, there is a window of time when the legislature and the people of Kansas are more receptive to these types of reform. That is during times of stress like we are experiencing now. Once times are better, people will be less responsive.

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