Small Government, Big Dollars


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Local governments old and new flourish across the U.S., challenging the idea of an age of austerity and smaller government. Since 1981, the number has grown to more than 89,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Residents pay for representation and services that are often duplicative, even as shrinking budgets led to the firing of 360,000 public-school positions from July 2008 to October 2012 and reductions at half the nation’s police departments.

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