A recent article appeared in the Scranton Times-Tribune introducing a new tax incentive for new developments(here). The tax incentive is in the form of an abatement that will last for 3 years. The article went on to quote Councilman Wayne Evans who acknowledged that there was a total lack of construction in the city; hence, the need for “incentives”. But Why?
It appears that the Scranton government acknowledges the need to increase the tax base but how do they intend to do so? What will attract people to the city? The economic prospects of the city are miserable and the local government is unresponsive. Building developments would be a great idea but there needs to be simultaneous growth within the private sector that we are just not seeing. The city tries to style itself as a college town but that means they have depend on the income of college students- which is basically non-existent. In addition, local students are well aware of the nepotism of this city- the few good jobs that do exist will go to a chosen few. Why would students stick around pass graduation?
If the city recognizes that the decreasing of taxes acts as an incentive to spur development then wouldn’t that be the case for other economic activity? They basically admitted that the city needs to lower taxes in order to grow so they are trying to slip in a tax incentive that hardly makes a real impact. The city needs to face reality and bite the bullet- Lower taxes by cutting cost and waste within the government. It is an unpopular position but sometimes the truth is not palpable or very popular.