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Old 06-24-2020, 03:36 PM
 
213 posts, read 66,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post

And regardless of Philadelphia's new progressive leadership, the city and its suburban region are still 100% the economic powerhouses of the state and that is not going to change. From your post (and other posts) its seems you want Philadelphia to fail as some sort of consolation prize.

Of course I don't. However, PA has a tiered tax structure and localities (county and city/township level) can largely write their own rules. Why for example, do the surrounding Philly suburban localities typically have a .5-1.25% income tax, but Philly is more than triple that, even for non-residents.



My point was that Philly and the surrounding counties already don't share a bank account and tend to have significant differences in RE, income, and corporate taxes. If businesses can save significant money by moving 5 miles outside Philly to Montgomery county, many of them will (and have.) It matters very little to me, not being a resident of Philly or Montco, if a hypothetical employer moves from Philly to Montco to avoid oppressive tax policy. The loser is Philly.


Maybe I'm not clear on what you actually think 'unification' would entail. I don't see, even if it was possible, how that would improve:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post
My issue is the shortsightedness and bitterness of progressives toward businesses and wealthier people and how both are needed to grow a healthy city. The suburban region understands that point hence why its so economically powerful.
Which I 100% agree with.
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:46 PM
 
113 posts, read 29,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post
I don't disagree with the above statement, but it isn't really related to Covid.

Philadelphia is among the best urban centers in the nation and has the potential to solidify itself as a premier American city, however, I am weary of the future because there is a wave of far left more radical progressives that do not have the slightest vision on how to actually improve Philadelphia's status as a national and international destination for business, leisure, living, etc.
I pretty much agree with most of what you wrote. Contrary to what some people on here might want to think of me, I actually do strongly support the concept of a thriving, bustling major city as a hub of a region. It's a kind of dynamism and energy and achievement that can be considered the pinnacle of civilization. I have lived in great cities and it's an experience you can't get in a suburb or small town.

In many ways, Philadelphia should be perfect, it's the right size for a city, big enough but not too big to be overwhelming, it has a wonderful heritage and history and architecture, it has a great park system, it has great institutions, a great location, in short, it has plenty of greats. Even the weather is generally more great than not.

At the same time, Philadelphia is also a deeply wounded city. It's never recovered from its heydays. The struggles were many, some were due to racism, others due to decline of heavy industry, others due to the shift away from urbanity (yes, it's all very well to love your little gentrified Northern Liberties or Passyunk rowhouse, but most people want greenery and more space and ease of parking). Because of the staggering decline between 1960-1990s, Philadelphia is still quite fragile. Which means a future going forward post-COVID AND the riots/social tensions of this year is going to be a very fine balancing act.

There's clearly a built up pressure of social anger, a lot of is from racism, but it's also deeper and broader than that, definitely exacerbated by the suddenly abrupt mass unemployment from the shutdowns, and it's clutching on to the racial dimensions as the excuse for the outlet. How that anger is going to square itself with the inherently fiscally conservative nature of finance and employment without coming into conflict is something I don't know. For the last 20 years we had a pretty good marriage between liberal politics and the financial and corporate world but if the social anger overwhelms the liberal political establishment and introduces a more decidedly activist left that is utterly unsympathetic to what I call the "asset owning classes," which runs the gamut from corporate CEOS to middle class employees with 401ks and homeownership, that's when things can become really, really bad. It's the kind of political anger that justifies defunding police even if crime soars, for example. I saw a young woman the other day just off Broad, coming from a protest, toting a sign screaming that you had to be a psychopath to be a policeman. Just before that I'd seen a dozen or so policemen, of all races, riding bicycles, looking like perfectly normal people in a difficult job. That's the kind of political and cultural war I can see rearing its ugly head in American cities in the next few years, and it won't be pretty.

For those who say I'm overreacting, perhaps I am but we also saw it happen in the past, in the 1970s and 1980s in many cities. A lot of the flight from the cities were certainly due to racism. But it was also badly exacerbated by dysfunctional politics and rising taxes in a downward spiraling cycle that was very difficult to stop. Many quiet and otherwise sympathetic people said, enough, and moved to peaceful and competent suburbs where you didn't have to deal with these tense issues. And I'm very sympathetic to that, too.

Philadelphia, and many other American cities, are certainly hurt by the political boundaries between cities and suburbs. A regional model similar to Toronto, merging city with suburban counties and towns into a single unit, would help moderate the electorate in may ways and prevent an angry left from self-destructing its own city, even with good intentions. At the same time it'd still remain pragmatically liberal for that is the nature of urban and even suburban areas these days. But the ability to neatly move a few miles from one city center to a suburban township and take your jobs and tax dollars with you allows political and social fragmentation to happen too easily.

We will see.
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,998 posts, read 3,364,639 times
Reputation: 4465
Quote:
Originally Posted by b-nasty View Post
Of course I don't. However, PA has a tiered tax structure and localities (county and city/township level) can largely write their own rules. Why for example, do the surrounding Philly suburban localities typically have a .5-1.25% income tax, but Philly is more than triple that, even for non-residents.
The reason this is the case is that the City of Philadelphia got the power to tax earnings from employment ("wage taxes") before the Commonwealth's other cities did under the provisions of a different state law.

The law authorizing Philadelphia's wage tax is known as the Sterling Act. It was an "emergency" measure enacted in 1932, when the Great Depression had put the city on the fiscal ropes. (Worth noting: The city was governed by a corrupt political machine back then too, and probably more corrupt than the regime we have now. It was run by the Republican Party, which got swept out of office by a reform Democratic slate in 1951 after running the city for more than 70 years. The 70th anniversary of Joe Clark's election comes next year, and that will mark 70 years of exclusive Democratic rule, during which time the party has become increasingly corrupt.)

The Stirling Act gave cities of the first class (there's only one of these in the state) the power to tax earnings from employment and net business profits (and gross receipts). The law did not set a cap on the rate and it also allowed the city to collect this tax from anyone who worked there, regardless where they lived. (A later amendment forbade the city to tax nonresidents at the same rate as residents. Philadelphia implemented its earnings and business income taxes in 1939, making it the first city in the country with a local earnings tax.

Pittsburgh's school district got a similar taxing power just after World War II.

All of the other municipalities and school districts in the Commonwealth got the power to tax wages and salaries under the provisions of a law passed in 1965. The law sets a 1 percent ceiling on the tax except in certain cases (home rule and fiscally distressed municipalities may set a higher rate). It allows municipalities to levy the tax on anyone who lives or works in them; if someone lives and works in two different municipalities, both of which levy this tax, the municipality where the person is employed must credit the tax to the one where the person resides. If both a municipality and a school district levy the tax, the tax is split evenly between the two jurisdictions. The Sterling Act's provisions trump the 1965 law's; IOW, residents of a municipality with a local earnings tax who work in Philadelphia pay Philadelphia's nonresident earnings tax instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
I pretty much agree with most of what you wrote. Contrary to what some people on here might want to think of me, I actually do strongly support the concept of a thriving, bustling major city as a hub of a region. It's a kind of dynamism and energy and achievement that can be considered the pinnacle of civilization. I have lived in great cities and it's an experience you can't get in a suburb or small town.

In many ways, Philadelphia should be perfect, it's the right size for a city, big enough but not too big to be overwhelming, it has a wonderful heritage and history and architecture, it has a great park system, it has great institutions, a great location, in short, it has plenty of greats. Even the weather is generally more great than not.

At the same time, Philadelphia is also a deeply wounded city. It's never recovered from its heydays. The struggles were many, some were due to racism, others due to decline of heavy industry, others due to the shift away from urbanity (yes, it's all very well to love your little gentrified Northern Liberties or Passyunk rowhouse, but most people want greenery and more space and ease of parking). Because of the staggering decline between 1960-1990s, Philadelphia is still quite fragile. Which means a future going forward post-COVID AND the riots/social tensions of this year is going to be a very fine balancing act.

There's clearly a built up pressure of social anger, a lot of is from racism, but it's also deeper and broader than that, definitely exacerbated by the suddenly abrupt mass unemployment from the shutdowns, and it's clutching on to the racial dimensions as the excuse for the outlet. How that anger is going to square itself with the inherently fiscally conservative nature of finance and employment without coming into conflict is something I don't know. For the last 20 years we had a pretty good marriage between liberal politics and the financial and corporate world but if the social anger overwhelms the liberal political establishment and introduces a more decidedly activist left that is utterly unsympathetic to what I call the "asset owning classes," which runs the gamut from corporate CEOS to middle class employees with 401ks and homeownership, that's when things can become really, really bad. It's the kind of political anger that justifies defunding police even if crime soars, for example. I saw a young woman the other day just off Broad, coming from a protest, toting a sign screaming that you had to be a psychopath to be a policeman. Just before that I'd seen a dozen or so policemen, of all races, riding bicycles, looking like perfectly normal people in a difficult job. That's the kind of political and cultural war I can see rearing its ugly head in American cities in the next few years, and it won't be pretty.

For those who say I'm overreacting, perhaps I am but we also saw it happen in the past, in the 1970s and 1980s in many cities. A lot of the flight from the cities were certainly due to racism. But it was also badly exacerbated by dysfunctional politics and rising taxes in a downward spiraling cycle that was very difficult to stop. Many quiet and otherwise sympathetic people said, enough, and moved to peaceful and competent suburbs where you didn't have to deal with these tense issues. And I'm very sympathetic to that, too.

Philadelphia, and many other American cities, are certainly hurt by the political boundaries between cities and suburbs. A regional model similar to Toronto, merging city with suburban counties and towns into a single unit, would help moderate the electorate in may ways and prevent an angry left from self-destructing its own city, even with good intentions. At the same time it'd still remain pragmatically liberal for that is the nature of urban and even suburban areas these days. But the ability to neatly move a few miles from one city center to a suburban township and take your jobs and tax dollars with you allows political and social fragmentation to happen too easily.

We will see.
As I said when I repped you, this is a fundamentally fair assessment with which I agree. And all things being equal, more people prefer to have some greenery of their own than little or none. But the presence of neighborhoods like those of Northwest Philadelphia (and to a lesser extent Northeast Philadelphia too) show that one can have urbanity and greenery at the same time. So do many of this city's very walkable, very urbane suburbs: Media, Ardmore, Ambler, Wayne, Jenkintown, Collingswood, Merchantville, Haddonfield, Bryn Mawr, Doylestown, West Chester, and so on.

But is the mix we have simply the result of people expressing their natural preferences or is it skewed by policies that favored one type of urban settlement over another? Many of those disinvested neighborhoods became so because of Federal policies that blacklisted them because there were too many blacks living in them, and real estate agents also stoked white fears in order to reap commissions, then sold the houses they left to new black arrivals for fire-sale prices, ignoring the buyers' ability to perform the maintenance and repairs they would need as they aged. Those FHA mortgages that housed an entire generation of returning soldiers and civilians after World War II couldn't be used to buy existing housing either, IIRC.

We can't say for sure that absent things like these, suburbanization wouldn't have happened to the extent and scale it did, but maybe urban abandonment and deterioration wouldn't have.

Some of the emphasis on unity would not require consolidating jurisdictions as happened in Philadelphia in 1854. Cooperation and coordination would yield the same benefits. This region is a lot different now from the one of the 1960s, when the attitude among the suburbanites and their governments was that if a bomb were to fall on Broad and Market streets the next day, their lives would not have been affected one whit.

And frankly, I think a form of municipal or regional federalism would work better anyway by enabling many services to remain closest to the people they serve. The situation that obtained in Toronto from 1961, when the six-jurisdiction Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto was formed, until that entity was replaced by the present-day City of Toronto in the late 1990s, strikes me as preferable to total consolidation.
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Old Yesterday, 05:55 AM
 
10,667 posts, read 6,246,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post



As I said when I repped you, this is a fundamentally fair assessment with which I agree. And all things being equal, more people prefer to have some greenery of their own than little or none. But the presence of neighborhoods like those of Northwest Philadelphia (and to a lesser extent Northeast Philadelphia too) show that one can have urbanity and greenery at the same time. So do many of this city's very walkable, very urbane suburbs: Media, Ardmore, Ambler, Wayne, Jenkintown, Collingswood, Merchantville, Haddonfield, Bryn Mawr, Doylestown, West Chester, and so on.

But is the mix we have simply the result of people expressing their natural preferences or is it skewed by policies that favored one type of urban settlement over another? Many of those disinvested neighborhoods became so because of Federal policies that blacklisted them because there were too many blacks living in them, and real estate agents also stoked white fears in order to reap commissions, then sold the houses they left to new black arrivals for fire-sale prices, ignoring the buyers' ability to perform the maintenance and repairs they would need as they aged. Those FHA mortgages that housed an entire generation of returning soldiers and civilians after World War II couldn't be used to buy existing housing either, IIRC.
OT-ish. Black vets, returning from WWII( of which there were about 2 million) were not eligible for the first GI Bill.
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Old Yesterday, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
960 posts, read 378,633 times
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Some interesting takes on progressive politics here. Starting with the tax abatement, how is it fair for developers to continue to avoid paying their fair share toward public schools? The tax abatement began in the 90s when the city was in a much different place re: capital flight. Before COVID, development was slowly chugging along and property taxes are already quite low in the city, anyway. Is there any evidence that ending the program will tarnish property development? If you are concerned about poverty rates in Philadelphia, properly funding schools is a great start to defeating the problem without simply displacing people.

The last few election cycles have shown us that yes, people are fed up with the contradictions of unfettered capitalism. The emergence of progressives in Philadelphia is just a glimpse of this. It is happening in cities across the country. If you don't come from a family steeped in cyclical poverty, be it in Philadelphia or Appalachia, the last few election cycles may not make sense to you. To me, they make perfect sense, and are a reflection of the ever growing wealth gap and contradictions of late stage capitalism.
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Old Yesterday, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,888 posts, read 7,983,958 times
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Originally Posted by Muinteoir View Post
The last few election cycles have shown us that yes, people are fed up with the contradictions of unfettered capitalism. The emergence of progressives in Philadelphia is just a glimpse of this. It is happening in cities across the country. If you don't come from a family steeped in cyclical poverty, be it in Philadelphia or Appalachia, the last few election cycles may not make sense to you. To me, they make perfect sense, and are a reflection of the ever growing wealth gap and contradictions of late stage capitalism.
Very well stated. I think the characteristics of the current political environment absolutely have to be judged in that context. Ironically, it's that exact same trends that have given rise to the current "populist," right-wing President and the ever-leftward drift of big cities like Philadelphia. It's two sides of the same coin; just different responses to the same conditions.

I don't doubt that everyone posting here has legitimate concerns for the future of our cities and want them to meet their highest potential. But until those in control of the power and wealth in this country understand and have the courage to rectify an economic system that is fundamentally broken is continuing to foster greater economic and racial inequity, we'll continue to see social backlash.

And make no mistake, this backlash will certainly not stop at the borders of large cities. It will engulf every community.
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Old Yesterday, 08:08 AM
 
113 posts, read 29,918 times
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Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
And make no mistake, this backlash will certainly not stop at the borders of large cities. It will engulf every community.
Yes... that's one of the telling things I see about the angry protesters. They seem to want a revolution.

Unfortunately for them, it does stop at the borders. That's what voting with your feet means.
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Old Yesterday, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
Yes... that's one of the telling things I see about the angry protesters. They seem to want a revolution.

Unfortunately for them, it does stop at the borders. That's what voting with your feet means.
But this goes well beyond angry protests, which comprise a very small minority of people calling for more meaningful change.

The movement to create a more just and equitable society does and will indeed go well beyond city borders. It's why peaceful marches for social justice occurred from Center City to Wellsboro: https://www.penncapital-star.com/civ...-that-matters/

And the redistribution of power can also happen in the form of voting, which will happens at the polls and have nationwide ramifications.
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Old Yesterday, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,998 posts, read 3,364,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
Yes... that's one of the telling things I see about the angry protesters. They seem to want a revolution.

Unfortunately for them, it does stop at the borders. That's what voting with your feet means.
That takes care of whatever local (and probably physical) manifestations of the disturbance occur.

The larger social one, however, won't respect local political borders if it continues on the current trajectory. It will become an issue in national politics.

We've already seen one revolt — that of the largely white, blue-collar Forgotten — play out, with profound impact on our civil society and political institutions. What's going on now is to an extent fueled by a Second Law of Thermodynamics-ish response to that first revolt, in particular the leftward lurch of a good chunk of the Democrats' core voters (and I'm sure you're well aware that the Black Lives Matter movement originated on the left even though it has grown to include more moderate supporters).

And this particular drama will continue past November, no matter who wins.
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Old Yesterday, 08:51 AM
 
113 posts, read 29,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
That takes care of whatever local (and probably physical) manifestations of the disturbance occur.

The larger social one, however, won't respect local political borders if it continues on the current trajectory. It will become an issue in national politics.

We've already seen one revolt — that of the largely white, blue-collar Forgotten — play out, with profound impact on our civil society and political institutions. What's going on now is to an extent fueled by a Second Law of Thermodynamics-ish response to that first revolt, in particular the leftward lurch of a good chunk of the Democrats' core voters (and I'm sure you're well aware that the Black Lives Matter movement originated on the left even though it has grown to include more moderate supporters).

And this particular drama will continue past November, no matter who wins.
And there will be a counter-response to the leftward lurch as well.

That's why I think we're in for a messy decade, much like how the 1970s was a messy decade. These responses will emerge and play against each other over time. The moderate supporters are always temporary and will flitter back and forth depending on how extreme the issues become.

It will be urban areas that will primarily be the battlegrounds of the new culture wars. The statue topplings are primarily occurring in urban areas (or places with high concentrations of angry lefties like college towns). The riots didn't happen in King of Prussia or Wayne for a reason. And because they are the battlegrounds, they have the most to lose when things (as they inevitably seem to do) go south.
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