It was recently announced that there would be a community college at the former Bon-Ton store in the Steam town Mall. According to a spokes person, this should be a means of increasing the economic activity of downtown Scranton. As well-meaning as that is the development has to give way to reality.
Students Aren’t Big Spenders
It is not likely you that can build an economic revival on the backs of students. Students aren’t big spenders; They have to worry about other financial commitments. Furthermore, a community college does not attract wealthier students who are being supported by their parents. Thus, the notion that a community college in the steamtown mall will revive the downtown area is a pretty optimistic forecast. It is true that this will increase the amount of foot traffic to the Mall but that in and of its self does not guarantee any spending. There is one way to get money from students that never fails.
When Students Become Earners
Now, if the students become gainfully employed, that will definitely work in the downtown Scranton areas favor. The only problem with this is that Scranton has no jobs. All the 50k students who go to the schools in the surrounding nepa area plan to leave once they graduate. Scranton needs good paying jobs. Now, why doesn’t Scranton have these good paying jobs? The reason Scranton doesn’t have these jobs is because taxes and fees in Scranton are far too high. Since the government of Scranton has no money and is losing more daily, it is attempting to salvage its horrid fiscal situation by taxing the city of Scranton to death. This makes for an environment that is hostile to development and economic success. In order to create jobs, business both big and small must be allowed to thrive without the fear of being shook down by the local government. Local business in Scranton have to absorb business privilege taxes, garbage fees, property taxes, sewer fees, parking fees and outside residents have commuter taxes. Why would a business want to open up here? The last business that opened up here closed its doors in months.
Lower Taxes and Create Jobs
The formula seems pretty simple. The Scranton government needs to stop raising taxes and the Chamber of commerce needs to stop making it difficult for businesses to come into Scranton. The announcement of a college in the steamtown mall is nice but there are already thousands of students in the area who do not step foot in the downtown Scranton area. The reason why is because the general malaise of the town gives it a downtrodden aura. The people of Scranton need jobs and that will only come from lowering taxes, creating opportunity and implementing innovative thinking. Of course, we can do the alternative and keep doing the same thing. It is said that when you do the same thing and expect different results, it mean you are insane. Scranton needs to do differently. Countless of cities has turned around and become a success, Scranton can come a success also.