Monday, November 18, 2013

Twisted Logic

Apologies for piling on the city of Scranton.  Unfortunately, it's too easy to resist, and there are things that need to be talked about.

It looks like property owners will have to swallow a more than fifty per cent property tax increase, plus a huge hike in the garbage fee.

I'm sorry.  So many people live pay check to pay check.  It has to be a struggle.

I watched the council meeting Thursday night, and there are a lot of people who just don't get it.  What options do you have?   That one's easy.  None.

The city faces massive debt.  Income doesn't meet expenses.  Bankruptcy isn't a magic wand, and there's no guarantee the courts will see it your way.  The state isn't willing to help.  The only answer is a tax increase.

The city's largest employer and economic driver is the University of Scranton.  An element has so effectively and efficiently antagonized the U, it will never provide some of the economic relief that's needed.  Yes, the University has taken property off the tax rolls.  On the other hand, it provides jobs and it's the only thing that's actually drawing people to the city.  Do you think people come here for the mall and to look at rusting train cars?

A lot of people are pushing for meetings to come up with ideas.  It's a nice sentiment, but there's no magic wand.  Scranton has to raise money fast, and the only way to do that is to raise taxes.

You knew it was going to happen.  Some at Thursday's meeting chose to play the "blame the media" card.  Excuse me, but I don't think Local TV LLC, Nexstar, Times~Shamrock, Entercom, Cumulus, Bold Gold, et al made any of the decisions that helped Scranton bungle its way into near bankruptcy.

And then, there is the state legislature.  I watched the debate over giving small games of chance to taverns and bars last week.  One speaker says tavern owners are owed the games because we took away their smoking.  Uh, no.  Smoking was banned because it was the right thing to do, and right things need no reward.  I don't think small games of chance won't hurt anyone, but let's do it for the right reason.  If you really want to help tavern owners, level the playing field and expand the smoking ban.