Monday, April 7, 2008

The Free Loading Burbs

First off, the latest news and valuable opinions on the merger:
  • Post-Gazette Article on "the Plan" of Ravenstahl and Onorato
  • Analysis of the "the Plan" from the P-G

While I still haven't figured out the logistics of the city/county merger I am willing to weigh in on one issue right now. That issue: should the 129 municipalities in Allegheny County be included in the merger? YES. Of course they should. We have roads that are used as much (if not more) by suburbians as city residents. We collect the trash that burbians leave around when they work. When I lived in the suburbs, my Dad spent as much time in the city as he did in Lebo, but guess where his income and property taxes went? How can the city or the county be expected to improve without the help of some of its wealthiest residents?

That being said, it will take some creativity to pass a city/county merger that includes the municipalities. The merger would require a referendum and there are 900,000 people in the county that don't live in the city and only 300,000 that do. Virtually all of those 900,000 have lower taxes now then they would in the city, so what is their motivation to join this metropolis government? Any ideas about how we could give them some motivation? Threaten to cut back on county services that primarily benefit suburbians? A short term freeze on income tax rates for county residents? I don't know anything about the logistics of either of those thoughts, they're just that, thoughts. Damn, sounds like I still have more reading to do.

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