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TheGerbil

PA cities still shrinking

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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05181/530702.stm

According to this article Pittsburgh and Philly both lost population last year. It also says that 22 of the nation's 25 fastest growing cities are located in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, and Nevada.

We have wonderful cities here in our state. But people's attraction to the sun belt is still yanking population away from us. On top of that, I think a lot of people take the view that "if other people are leaving, it must be for a reason, so I better leave too." How can we turn around this decline? How can we battle the bad PR that comes from shrinking?

And when the heck is Allegheny county going to consolidate into one large city, like it should be? Pittsburgh should not be the 56th largest city in the country! That statistic is very misleading, and it makes it hard to attract people here, I'm sure.

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I also saw that article, though I didn't read all of it yet, Philadelphia I thought was actually GAINING population, but I guess not. Again Gerbil you hit the nail on the head as far as the reason for Pennsylvania's population woes, non-consolidated cities. People underestimate how much that drags the economy, job growth, civic pride, new housing starts, etc. etc. Dealing with 130+ governments when your starting a new business that might deliver is such a task that it consumes hours of each day, let alone the different zoning, taxing, and muni coding hassels of expanding a business.

So yes it's time that Pittsburgh and Philly consolidated the metroplexes similar to a Houston, Phoenix, or Las Vegas, or even a Jacksonville/Duval County, Miami/Dade County.

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I also saw that article, though I didn't read all of it yet, Philadelphia I thought was actually GAINING population, but I guess not. 

The metro area is gaining population. The city itself is not.

Again Gerbil you hit the nail on the head as far as the reason for Pennsylvania's population woes, non-consolidated cities.  People underestimate how much that drags the economy, job growth, civic pride, new housing starts, etc. etc.  Dealing with 130+ governments when your starting a new business that might deliver is such a task that it consumes hours of each day, let alone the different zoning, taxing, and muni coding hassels of expanding a business. 

Actaully there was an article somewhere (I think in the Washington Post) that said that the trend of cities gaining population in the 1990's was over and that it was an anomaly driven by extra high immigration that decade. Now in the post-9/11 world and in the world of a slower economy, immigration has slowed and the immigrants that came here in the 90's have left for the suburbs. I think the artlce said 15 of the nation's 20 largest cities or so have lost population since last year with Boston leading the pack (I don't remember whether that's by raw number or by percentage). Chicago also took a hit.

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So yes it's time that Pittsburgh and Philly consolidated the metroplexes similar to a Houston, Phoenix, or Las Vegas, or even a Jacksonville/Duval County, Miami/Dade County.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Philadelphia already did consolidated back in the 1800's when it took over the densly populated parts of Philadelphia County (the rural areas split off to form Montgomery County). Sure that's smaller scale than the Pgh/Allegheny consolidation but back then it was jsut as massive an undertaking since it took in the entire metro area as well as many rural areas. However, after that people still kept on moving outwards which is why the Phila metro area is spread among 5 PA counties, 4 NJ counties, and 1 DE county.

While consolidation will add to efficiency what will really stop the population loss is a growing economy, keeping in mind that the NE cities will have a longer road to cover since they msut also hemmorage the loss of industrial jobs and also don't have the sunbelt advantage.

I see the turn around of NE cities to be in several stages.

1) the metro area population loss stabilizes.

Philadelphia reached this point around 1990 after seeing a slight population decline in the 1980's (from 4.9m to 4.8m).

Pittsburgh has yet to see this stage but probably will in the next decade.

2) the metro area population increases.

Philadelphia saw this happen in the 90's and the 2000's, growing from 4.9 million to over 5.1 million.

Pittsburgh will see this in the decade after its population stabilizes.

3) the city population loss stabilizes.

Philadelphia is seeing this now with a 0.5% population loss from 2003.

It seems that Pittsburgh is already starting to see this as well with only a 1% population loss from 2003. However, since stage 1 and 2 are not finished, it'll take longer to rach stage 4.

4) the city population starts increasing.

Neither city has reached this stage yet but will one day.

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Urban, first yes Philly metro is gaining, but the point of the article was the city or more so the central city population losses, sorry if i was vague.

Also I am very aware that Philadelphia city and county are one, if Pittsburgh consolidates with Allegheny County though it will be 700+ sq. miles, whereas Philadelphia even with its county is 150 or 200 some sq. miles (I'm guestimating here) no where near 700 or close to 800 sq. miles, the point being that overall Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have the same problem, though Philly is a lot more then Pittsburgh's 55 sq. miles. Even this though I am not going to stop at why not best the sunbelt cities by making all of SE PA Philly and SW Pa Pittsburgh, do the same in the Harrisburg, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Eire, Bethelhem, Reading, Lancaster, York and other areas in the state. :)

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Urban, first yes Philly metro is gaining, but the point of the article was the city or more so the central city population losses, sorry if i was vague.

Also I am very aware that Philadelphia city and county are one, if Pittsburgh consolidates with Allegheny County though it will be 700+ sq. miles, whereas Philadelphia even with its county is 150 or 200 some sq. miles (I'm guestimating here) no where near 700 or close to 800 sq. miles, the point being that overall Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have the same problem, though Philly is a lot more then Pittsburgh's 55 sq. miles.  Even this though I am not going to stop at why not best the sunbelt cities by making all of SE PA Philly and SW Pa Pittsburgh, do the same in the Harrisburg, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Eire, Bethelhem, Reading, Lancaster, York and other areas in the state.  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It'll be interesting. However, my point was that unless PA amends its laws to allow continual annexation (like Texas allows), you'll end up with a situation where the city annexes its suburbs but people still keep on moving outward to new suburbs and the city eventually looses out. Philadelphia annexed its suburbs in the 1800's back when the suburbs were areas within a few miles of the center of the city and it also anenxed plenty of rural land to allow for future expansion. However, no one back then predicted that 175 sq. miles (estimate) would not be enough and at present it covers a small fraction of the metro area as a whole.

Similarly, if Pgh annexes Allegheny County, it still won't recapture the growth areas which are mostly occuring outside Allegheny in places like Murrysville, Peters, Adams, and Cranberry. So you'll have a situation of a 1.2 million person city that's losing people.

Cotninual expansion, on the other hand, will allow for the cities to keep on retaining "their" people. It'll also cut down on urban sprawl since many people now mvoe further and further away for the purpose of avoiding taxes (which leads to very inefficient irreversible uses of land). Continual expansion is what many states in the south and west allow (and a HUGE part of why Houston and Phoenix are "growing" and aren't confiend by county boundaries). Also, I think tis the model used in most other parts of the world.

It'll be VERY tough to make that the regime in PA, however, since there are so many municipalities you ahve to deal with. As you know, Allegheny County alone has 130 of them and even in a unified city I'm sure many of those units will insist on maintaining some form of autonomy which will cut down on the efficiencies.

Also, for Pgh there's the added problem of topography which has hsitorically kept communities that should be together apart and allowed them to develop separate identities whcih they cling onto. Thus Pgh can't really pull a "Toronto" where the metro area was gradually unified into the city by first reducing the number of municiapalities and then increasing metro government and then finally annexing everything into the city.

So given all that, I think the best weapon NE cities can have is to improve their economy and then, as an added incentive, market themselves as uniquely lvieable places b/c of their history (thus distingusihing themsleves from the Houstons and Phoenixes of the country). Boston, although its taking a hit now, was able to do that and benefitted through the 80's and 90's after declining from the 50's to the 70's. As I mentioned before, Pgh has a lot of character but it is awful at marketing it. There are plenty of people who would love to lvie among green hills, shop at the Strip District, admire the architechture of the quaint old neighborhoods, and visit the cultural facilities of Oakland. However, people associate all those things with other cities and overlook Pgh because of the poor marketing.

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Yes, yes, it's back to marketing again! I wish I had some kind of clout. I hate sitting back and watching the numerous failed efforts at marketing the city. I think I could do a better job myself! But I don't have the clout to be heard.

There is so much to say about Pittsburgh, but if it isn't said in the right way and to the right audience, it may as well not be said at all. Sigh.

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just a dumb question :).. which major cities classify as being in the sun belt?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would say Phoenix, Vegas, Albequerque (sd?), any city in Texas, places like that. Not sure if California is technically Sun Belt, but I personally would include it.

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I would say Phoenix, Vegas, Albequerque (sd?), any city in Texas, places like that. Not sure if California is technically Sun Belt, but I personally would include it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Also... Jacksonville, Atlanta, Columbus Ohio haha, Charlotte, Raleigh, basically a collection of cities that are completely auto-dependent, low-density and architecturally deficient.

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Also... Jacksonville, Atlanta, Columbus Ohio haha, Charlotte, Raleigh, basically a collection of cities that are completely auto-dependent, low-density and architecturally deficient.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

LOL I am soooo sick of hearing how great Columbus OH is. It's not the big, in terms of metro area population. It cannot possibly have the cultural offerings of Pittsburgh. It just happens to have been able to annex its suburbs and is in a state with a tax system that is more fair to cities.

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LOL I am soooo sick of hearing how great Columbus OH is. It's not the big, in terms of metro area population. It cannot possibly have the cultural offerings of Pittsburgh. It just happens to have been able to annex its suburbs and is in a state with a tax system that is more fair to cities.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Gerbil, I wouldn't say that Columbus is praised like you say and regardless. there isn't a conspiracy against Pittsbugh. Columbus has its pluses and minuses like everywhere else.

The fact that is just happens to be able to annex land is significant (growing taxbase). Regardless, Franklen county which can't expand in land area, saw sizable gains through the decades and the metro grew by nearly 200,000.

While I agree that Pittsburgh has more to offer culturally and otherwise. The fact is that Columbus has been able to offer more jobs.

Without becoming like Columbus and the sunbelt cities that take pride in the next greatest chain restaurant, Pittsburgh does need to borrow a page or 2 from their economic development book.

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Gerbil, I wouldn't say that Columbus is praised like you say and regardless.  there isn't a conspiracy against Pittsbugh.  Columbus has its pluses and minuses like everywhere else. 

The fact that is just happens to be able to annex land is significant (growing taxbase). Regardless, Franklen county which can't expand in land area,  saw sizable gains through the decades and the metro grew by nearly 200,000.

While I agree that Pittsburgh has more to offer culturally and otherwise.  The fact is that Columbus has been able to offer more jobs.

Without becoming like Columbus and the sunbelt cities that take pride in the next greatest chain restaurant, Pittsburgh does need to borrow a page or 2 from their economic development book.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have heard a fair number of people praise Columbus. Not a lot, but enough to give me pause.

As for economic development, that comes down to tax structure again. Columbus probably doesn't have to compete with its own suburbs like Pittsburgh does. It's probably easier to start a business there because there are less government bodies to deal with. And PA has some of the highest business taxes of any state. Fix the tax issues and Pgh will probably see a lot more jobs coming in.

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I read that Columbus' turn around was basically undertaken by former mayor Dana Rhinehart. He also called Columbus "A Little Bit of Sunshine in the Rust Belt"

In actuality, I think what helps Columbus is the fact that they really didn't have much to begin with and thus was able to enter the post-industrial era without havig to carry much baggage (no high taxes, no declining inner city neighborhoods, no fallow brownfields, etc.). Add to that the presence of the state government and OSU, both major employers, and you have a formula for success. In many ways, Columbus is more akin to the Southern cities than to the Rust Belt cities.

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^^majoring in Political Science I had a professor once tell me that the "sun belt" as a demographic, social, economic and even political term would refer to any and all "new economy" cities or regions, basically those regions that experienced thier greatest growth post 1980 would be sunbelt everything from Seattle down the coast to the SF suburbs to LA to SD to Phoenix and Vegas up to areas of Utah and Colorado including Denver then over to Dallas, Houston, Austin, SA, then Central Tenn. Nashville, parts of N. Alabama, Atlanta, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Columbus Ohio, Washington DC could be argued is sunbelt, and then everything in Florida.

The term according to him was derived as a dividing line between different classes of economic, cultural (union/nonunion), political origins. In that guise it does not HAVE to be "sunny" to be sunbelt, a more apt term would be "new economy" cities vs. "old economy" cities bascially cities that have exploded with service, retail and tech jobs vs. old industrial cities.

Anyway thats what my college tuition went towards :lol:

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I read that Columbus' turn around was basically undertaken by former mayor Dana Rhinehart.  He also called Columbus "A Little Bit of Sunshine in the Rust Belt"

In actuality, I think what helps Columbus is the fact that they really didn't have much to begin with and thus was able to enter the post-industrial era without havig to carry much baggage (no high taxes, no declining inner city neighborhoods, no fallow brownfields, etc.).  Add to that the presence of the state government and OSU, both major employers, and you have a formula for success.  In many ways, Columbus is more akin to the Southern cities than to the Rust Belt cities.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Excellent point. I think you have it there!

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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05181/530702.stm

According to this article Pittsburgh and Philly both lost population last year. It also says that 22 of the nation's 25 fastest growing cities are located in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, and Nevada.

We have wonderful cities here in our state. But people's attraction to the sun belt is still yanking population away from us. On top of that, I think a lot of people take the view that "if other people are leaving, it must be for a reason, so I better leave too." How can we turn around this decline? How can we battle the bad PR that comes from shrinking?

And when the heck is Allegheny county going to consolidate into one large city, like it should be? Pittsburgh should not be the 56th largest city in the country! That statistic is very misleading, and it makes it hard to attract people here, I'm sure.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Though in a lot of people's mind population is part of the psychological nature of what makes up a city, population is not what makes a city great, or improves its image or stature. People, in and of themselves is what makes a city, along with the amenities, viables, recreation, and other attractions and items that are built to for the people or population base to enjoy. It is up to the elected leaders, along with the people and citizens, to help build these attractions in order to convey a positive image and attract the local populace of the city or area in question as a whole.

As for people fleeing for sunbelt and western cities, let's face it, most of the people up north get tired of the cold, cold winters, and blustry hot uneventful summers. I am a Floridian, born and bred, and I never could understand why so many people from other areas of America flocked to our state. But now that I am middle aged, and ask more questions, one of the premier and foremost answers are, "to get away from the cold and the butal winters!"

I myself can never understand why anyone would subject themselves, most or all of their life, to extremely harsh and brutal winters that are so common up north. The only thing I can think of is, "there's no place like home." Just as I am accustomed to brutal, hot summers, people up north get accustomed and acclimated to the brutal, harsh winters; and also, Florida is my home, I was born and raised here and I love it. So, being that the people can in general put up with the cold winters, and "there's no place like home," it is up to the elected leaders to think of different types of recreation, attractions, etc., to keep the people and locals in those cities and areas when the winters abate; and I really think that this is not happening.

What about a Disneyland up in New York or Pennsylvania? Why do these type attractions have to be in Florida or California? Or what about taking some of the beautiful, unpolluted lakes in Pennsylvania or Virginia and transforming them into beachlike properties, areas and attractions for tourists and the locals? I don't think this is happening up north, thus the reasons, other than the brutal winters, of people flocking to the sunbelt cities.

FLORIDAY SKYRISE ORDER

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Though in a lot of people's mind population is part of the psychological nature of what makes up a city, population is not what makes a city great, or improves its image or stature.  People, in and of themselves is what makes a city, along with the amenities, viables, recreation, and other attractions and items that are built to for the people or population base to enjoy.  It is up to the elected leaders, along with the people and citizens, to help build these attractions in order to convey a positive image and attract the local populace of the city or area in question as a whole.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with you that it's only the people who make a place great. But population loss isn't exactly good for the state's image. College grads who see that other people are leaving are less likely to stay themselves. I have seen this again and again. "Why should I stay here, all my friends went to Arizona/California/whatever."

As for people fleeing for sunbelt and western cities, let's face it, most of the people up north get tired of the cold, cold winters, and blustry hot uneventful summers.  I am a Floridian, born and bred, and I never could understand why so many people from other areas of America flocked to our state.  But now that I am middle aged, and ask more questions, one of the premier and foremost answers are, "to get away from the cold and the butal winters!"

I myself can never understand why anyone would subject themselves, most or all of their life, to extremely harsh and brutal winters that are so common up north.

I myself have never been able to understand how people can put up with the brutally hot and humid summers down south ;)

The only thing I can think of is, "there's no place like home."  Just as I am accustomed to brutal, hot summers, people up north get accustomed and acclimated to the brutal, harsh winters; and also, Florida is my home, I was born and raised here and I love it.  So, being that the people can in general put up with the cold winters, and "there's no place like home," it is up to the elected leaders to think of different types of recreation, attractions, etc., to keep the people and locals in those cities and areas when the winters abate; and I really think that this is not happening.

What about a Disneyland up in New York or Pennsylvania?  Why do these type attractions have to be in Florida or California?  Or what about taking some of the beautiful, unpolluted lakes in Pennsylvania or Virginia and transforming them into beachlike properties, areas and attractions for tourists and the locals?  I don't think this is happening up north, thus the reasons, other than the brutal winters, of people flocking to the sunbelt cities.

I don't really think people live in FL for Disney World. The Northeast has lots of attractions, and yes it even has some beaches. PA itself has a ton of cultural attractions, amusement parks, etc. I don't think that is really it. I think it's got more to do with perceived quality of life. And jobs. PA has some kind of bass-ackwards business taxes. <_<

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I agree with you that it's only the people who make a place great. But population loss isn't exactly good for the state's image. College grads who see that other people are leaving are less likely to stay themselves. I have seen this again and again. "Why should I stay here, all my friends went to Arizona/California/whatever."

I myself have never been able to understand how people can put up with the brutally hot and humid summers down south  ;) 

I don't really think people live in FL for Disney World. The Northeast has lots of attractions, and yes it even has some beaches. PA itself has a ton of cultural attractions, amusement parks, etc. I don't think that is really it. I think it's got more to do with perceived quality of life. And jobs. PA has some kind of bass-ackwards business taxes.  <_<

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If you want to take it from a Pittsburgher who lived and traveled all over the place for most of his life (btw in a few days I'm flying to Paris and traveling through Germany, Chech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, to visit family and friends between summer and fall semesters)... it's not the weather. Or it is the weather. But not really. Florida's got hurricanes and heat waves; California has earthquakes, droughts, forrest fires, mud slides; Arizona has sand storms which I say are worst of all (ok I spent 2 summers in Iraq, sue me).

"Harsh" winters in Pittsburgh really don't affect much of our daily lives. We don't have massive gridlocked evacuations of an entire state 2-3 times per summer and storms that cause a billion dollars worth of damage a pop. Our homes don't routinely engage in fender-benders with other homes downhill from us, even though our topology is indeed hilly. Harsh Pittsburgh winters to me mean a chance to air out my own wardrobe and see gorgeous ladies in different types of fashions for a while.

I would love to go back to Las Vegas or San Diego for a vacation again, but after just a month of living on Pendleton I was seriously getting depressed because the weather is just so BORING, it really dulled my senses. Ask the people who live in Pittsburgh and like it and they will tell you that hell would have to freeze over before they live somewhere with anything less than 4 seasons. We don't need to pretend we're a tropical paradise when we can go windsurfing in the summer and snowboarding in the winter in our own back yards. We don't have to wake up at 3 in the morning to go for a run like the people in Arizona. We're not compelled to build sunshades above our swimming pools like some folks do in Florida. Really, name one thing that you can do somewhere else that you can't do in Pittsburgh, especially in the outdoors. Unless you go sunbathing 365 days a year, as *some* people do who we don't really care for in Pittsburgh, then you don't really need pure sun 365 days a year.

But then again, it's not really the weather. The fact is that in the end you CAN do more things in Pittsburgh than you can down south, and if you add a week's vacation to anywhere else each year, then the people in florida really have nothing on us. We can in fact vacation there, too, and lots of people own homes and timeshares down there to get away from some of the worse weather in the winter here. The ones who got out of Pittsburgh permanently, obviously they're going to have to rationalize their decision however they can.

Gerbil: as far as business taxes go, I don't think that's really the problem. People blame unions, too, and they blame every one of the other meager ways Pittsburghers have of protecting their lifestyles and liveliehoods from outside exploitation, but all of that is just backwards reasoning.

OTOH there's some *people* in Pittsburgh, the old money, the established businesses, who really are the ones who ruin a lot of things. Don't forget that other businesses have the most incentive to create high costs of entry to any form of competition. Sometimes it comes down to bored old-money housewives who don't have a god damned better thing to do than to complain about this or that business "ruining" what their image of Pittsburgh dictates should be. Would you think that someone would have a problem with a small business that conducts kayaking tours of the three-rivers? But they do, and they have absolutely no vested interest but too much power. It's not taxes. We also have the old-money mayoral holding company known as the state dnc that gave us our new mayor who by all accounts should be a Republican, etc.

OTOH its the lack of taxes that has created massive problems for current and future Pittsburgh developments. The establishment politicians have been cutting corners for so long now and one of the ways was to tell the utilities that they can make up for their budget shortfalls by selling off the tax liens for abandoned properties to collection agencies for pennies on the dollar. So now any developer who wants to fix a potentially wonderfull property has to jump through hoops and pay 20 years of property taxes to a private *s*h*l* collector that is essentially money that the city owes to itself but instead is getting nothing for it. I have heard something from the Peduto campaign that there are literally thousands of such properties around the city.

-blueblackcat

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What's this about the kayaking business? Is there a story here that I missed? Please tell. :)

Not sure I agree with everything you said, but I do think streamlining government would help a lot. The city probably sold those tax leins because they felt they had no choice. I am not saying cost cutting itsn't important, but a lot of that has been done yet it is still not enough. We need a more organized and more fair tax system, and we need to share as many services and costs with the county as possible. Until that happens, there will be budget problems and extreme measures will be taken to get more money where possible.

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What's this about the kayaking business? Is there a story here that I missed? Please tell. :)

Not sure I agree with everything you said, but I do think streamlining government would help a lot. The city probably sold those tax leins because they felt they had no choice. I am not saying cost cutting itsn't important, but a lot of that has been done yet it is still not enough. We need a more organized and more fair tax system, and we need to share as many services and costs with the county as possible. Until that happens, there will be budget problems and extreme measures will be taken to get more money where possible.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There is a story to it that I heard the short and rough version of from a friend of the guy involved. I don't know the name of the actual company, but I trust my friend and he told me the story in the same exact context as our discussion here. Take it as an anecdote I guess.

As far as our taxes, on every level that we are taxed I just wish people paid the fair share that they owe in principle before all the loopholes and then the rest of us wouldn't have to make up for it, which in this case includes any potential businesses that aren't on the inside track with city politics. So I don't view the problem as a black and white "taxes are too high" or "taxes are too low" campaign rhetoric and I don't think anyone who ever read this forum views it so simplisticly either. Somehow I just don't add up a multi-millionare who lives on Elsworth who paid dozens of times more for a house than the assessed value his property tax is based on to equal that taxes are too high and need to be lowered. I add that up to a millionare driving on roads that I pay for when I pay taxes for putting my life on the line to defend our country and otherwise go about earning an honest living. No amount of cost cutting, streamlining, or anything is going to make up for that kind of slap in the face. And then we hand out stadiums and shopping malls to these people as if they were god's gift to our great nation. That's why I view the fundamental issue as one of corruption by a group of well connected insiders who abuse way too much power that they never earned democratically.

- blue black cat

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There is a story to it that I heard the short and rough version of from a friend of the guy involved.  I don't know the name of the actual company, but I trust my friend and he told me the story in the same exact context as our discussion here.  Take it as an anecdote I guess.

What is the story? Or do you feel you shouldn't say more?

As far as our taxes, on every level that we are taxed I just wish people paid the fair share that they owe in principle before all the loopholes and then the rest of us wouldn't have to make up for it, which in this case includes any potential businesses that aren't on the inside track with city politics.  So I don't view the problem as a black and white "taxes are too high" or "taxes are too low" campaign rhetoric and I don't think anyone who ever read this forum views it so simplisticly either.  Somehow I just don't add up a multi-millionare who lives on Elsworth who paid dozens of  times more for a house than the assessed value his property tax is based on to equal that taxes are too high and need to be lowered.  I add that up to a millionare driving on roads that I pay for when I pay taxes for putting my life on the line to defend our country and otherwise go about earning an honest living.  No amount of cost cutting, streamlining, or anything is going to make up for that kind of slap in the face.  And then we hand out stadiums and shopping malls to these people as if they were god's gift to our great nation.  That's why I view the fundamental issue as one of corruption by a group of well connected insiders who abuse way too much power that they never earned democratically.

- blue black cat

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is sort of what I was talking about when I mentioned taxes. The unfair distribution of burden. The fact that so many businesses and rich folks don't pay their fair share.

I wonder what became of that proposal in the legislature to make some changes to the business tax structure? It sounded really good. I wonder if it is still being pushed. Stupid gov't is so slow, except when it comes to giving themselves a raise <_<

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Actually, there have been a few articles lately about how downtown Columbus is becoming quite an empty shell. The movie complex closed last week and the Federated store closed last month.

Ironically, when studied in the 1990's, Pittsburgh's building permits had increased after it had expaned its land value tax. Of all the Rust Belt cities studies by Oates and Schwab of the U of Maryland, Columbus was the only other city that enjoyed an increase of BPs issued; they then discovered that Columbus anexed lots of land.

www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/valuation_taxation/dl/oates_schwab.pdf

By the way, as a Philadelphian, I can tell you the city leaders are smoke and mirroring: the yuppies are swarming center City, but middle-class and working neighborhoods are still contracting.

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Along these lines I found an excellent site dealing with the conflict of the cities vs. suburbs. Although I realize this thread is not JUST cities but entire metro areas such as Eire, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh etc. I feel that one thing that makes it so diffucult to move to Pennsylvania is the patchwork of fiefdoms we have here with boroughs and townships all over especially on this side of the Alleghenies. Whereas metro Phoenix only has a dozen or so municipal codes or zoning boards to wangle through, Allegheny county alone has over 130 for any major corporation or family wanting to start their business here.

http://www.demographia.com/dm-uac.htm

This is the link some interesting notes on this, since 1950 Pittsburgh has only expanded their limit lines by 3% (largely the uninhabited Hays hilltop from the corporate "donation" by Jones & Laughlin property and the present day corporate "donation" of what became the Waterworks mall, both however not huge on the tax base or population) other cities have gobbled up land to the tune of:

Atlanta 1950-2000: 256% gobble (almost quadrupled its size)

Dallas 1950-2000: 184% gobble (almost tripled its size)

Houston 1950-2000: 257% gobble (almost quadrupled its size)

Kansas City 1950-2000: 183% gobble (almost tripled its size)

Phoenix 1950-2000: 1,565% gobble (do I have to add comment to this?)

Portland OR 1950-2000: 95% gobble (almost doubled its size)

Sacramento 1950-2000: 467% gobble (more then 5x its size)

San Antonio 1950-2000: 376% gobble (more then quadrupled its size)

San Diego 1950-2000: 227% gobble (more then tripled its size)

San Jose 1950-2000: 908% gobble (can we say wowow)

Seattle 1950-2000: 18% gobble

Tampa 1950-2000: 37% gobble

Again, consolidate already!

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