Guest Contributor: Let’s Call It What It Is

As some of you may already know there is a petition going around Scranton to force a ballot initiative. The ballot initiative is to force the city of Scranton to file for chapter 9 bankruptcy, a decision that probably should have been made 15 years ago. Does anyone ever want to file for bankruptcy? No, of course not. So, we can assume that no one would want their city to file for bankruptcy, right? Well, sometimes it’s the best and most logical avenue to explore, as it is in the case regarding our city. As a resident and business owner of Scranton I have been taxed and taxed again while the level of service provided by the city remains the same. Any reasonable person who has ever picked up an economics book understands that over taxation results in people having less disposable income, which means they frequent local establishments less. That results in less profitable businesses, businesses that can’t expand or hire new employees, offer health care insurance and so on. It’s really a very simple concept that our elected officials just can’t seem to comprehend. I’d like to make this analogy for our city government officials as well as anyone else that may not be sure if bankruptcy is needed or necessary. As I’ve mentioned previously I’m a business owner in the city of Scranton, that business is a barber shop. In my barber shop I have “assets” these are the things I use in my shop that help me create revenue ( Clippers, combs, mirrors, barber chairs, razors, shears) without them I can’t conduct business, I can’t make money, I can’t pay my bills. The city of Scranton has sold their assets ( or “our” assets ) Montage Mountain, The Scranton Municipal Golf Course, The Parking Authority, The Sewer Authority, The Mall at Steamtown to pay off debt. Here is the problem, after selling off all of the assets the city had they are still 150 million dollars in debt, that’s $150,000,000. So, let’s go back to my humble shop for a moment, if I sold my assets I’m out of business, effectively. But, I still have my loans to pay off, gas and light bills, taxes, etc. What does that make me? Let’s see…no assets in which to create revenue + existing debt and bills that need to be paid off ( stop me if this sounds familiar), that means I’m broke. So, without a means of income and outstanding debt to be paid off I have two choices 1.) Find another means of income to pay off debt. 2.) File for bankruptcy. The problem our city has that private industry does not is that private industry actually creates things, government does not. The government only has one source of income now, the fruits of your labor. I believe it is completely immoral to force the residents of this city to carry the burden of decades upon decades of loose fiscal policy, poor negotiations and benefit packages for city employees that are completely unsustainable. The people of this city deserve to keep the fruits of their labor, they deserve to enjoy the money they have worked so hard for, it should not be forcefully taken away from them to pay for the inadequacies of their government. It’s for these reasons that this petition has created, to force the power of this decision out of the hands of the government and directly into the hands of the people. It’s our money, it’s our city, it’s our future. It’s time we own it, again. Let’s pull together and show the city government that they can no longer spend our money, the fruits of our labor as they see fit. Instead it will be spent as we, their employers, see fit.

In liberty,
Damian Biancarelli

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