Monday, April 23, 2012
The Suburb v. City Myth
But what about those fancy suburbs? Do their residents have an obligation to prop up Allentown?
South Whitehall Township Manager Jon Hammer last week labelled the entire city v. suburb argument nonsense. He's right.
Let's look at subsidies, shall we?
How about Coca Cola Park? Locating the federal court house in downtown Allentown? Locating the lion's share of Lehigh County offices in Allentown? Establishing KOZs and KIZs in urban locations like Allentown? Underwriting mass transit like LANTA which primarily serves urban areas like Allentown?
How about direct subsidy programs like Section 8 housing vouchers, SNAP, CHPs, Medicaid, school lunch programs, subsidized senior housing? Federal and state aid to education? Federal aid to first responders?
If you do an honest - not ideologically and politically driven - assessment, you will discover that Allentown would be in far worse shape were it not for the financial support it receives from those who live outside the "City Without Limits."
This discussion is not about whether an economically stronger Allentown is better for the region. Practically everyone agrees that a stronger Allentown benefits the entire Valley. The discussion is about the most effective ways to make that happen. It should not be a "them v. us" issue.