Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A city in Ohio tires of failure.

After years of trying and failing, the city leaders of Youngstown in the state of Ohio have decided that instead of trying to attract new businesses into their city, they will simply raze dilapidated buildings and tear up blighted streets. They will turn eyesores into open green spaces. At first, I thought this was a good idea. But then I realized that the city will be spending public funds on what is called “project 2010.” The article doesn’t say how much exactly but hiring heavy equipment and the workers that man them can’t be cheap. Couldn’t those funds go towards something else? I understand that living near eyesores can be demoralizing but it doesn’t sound like the city of Youngstown is overflowing with the sort of tax revenue that would allow them to take such drastic measures.

And then I started to think about the Democratic primary in the state of Ohio and how all of Ohio’s economic issues were cast with the greater national debate regarding the economy, NAFTA, and union jobs. The state has indeed seen tough times. But it is largely due to its own doing. Industries have been leaving Ohio and none have come to take their place because the state is simply not business friendly and it also taxes its citizens quite a bit too: The state of Ohio has the third highest corporate income tax in the country (10.5%) and the sixth highest personal income tax (8.87%). Why move your business to Ohio when the state of Texas, for example, has far lower corporate taxes and no state income tax? Is it any wonder that the state of Texas is booming while Ohio has been in an economic rut for years?

It seems to me that there will be more defeated little cities like Youngstown in the state of Ohio until politicians there wake up and smell economic reality.

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