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Consolidate That Government!

Expected consequence of the mortgage crisis: fewer Americans want second homes. Unexpected consequence: fewer American state legislatures want second houses. Maine’s House of Representatives voted this week to merge itself with the state Senate, creating one unicameral body, potentially saving taxpayers $11 million each two-year legislative session. But the cost savings are secondary, supporters of the plan say, to the real goal of bringing state government into line with modern times. Maine state representative Joseph Wagner called the state Senate a “colonial legacy” of the state’s early days, in which the upper chamber was “a council of [the state’s] wealthiest landowners.” If the plan goes forward, Maine would become only the second state, behind Nebraska, to have a one-chambered legislature. Now for the really important question: can New York State’s comically dysfunctional government be abolished entirely? [%comments]