This point is tangential to the Portland Generating Station issue, so it deserves its own post. Consider this quote from Ron Angle:
The Portland Power plant is in Northampton County, but the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection filed a petition against the plant.
And some Northampton County officials believe that move was fueled by politics.
“It always seems like there’s an obstacle for economic development in the slate belt,” said Ron Angle, a republican on Northampton County Council.
This is why I don’t like district seats for county government. The county has a limited number of dollars available to spend on economic development. The goal for economic development should be to boost productivity. Productivity increases with greater density, therefore the sole focus of the county’s economic development efforts should be to nudge more residents and employers to locate in the core cities and subsidize dense development there. You’re going to get the best results by concentrating resources, not spreading money evenly across all areas.
To put it bluntly, there should be zero dollars being spent encouraging residents and employers to locate in low-density low-productivity rural areas like the Slate Belt. Trying to artificially engineer development there is actively damaging to the region’s economy. It’s perfectly fine for people to choose to live wherever they want, but it’s totally inappropriate for the government to be spending any money to subsidize rural living or business development. It’s wasteful to spend taxpayer money in ways that reduce the region’s productivity and output. And yet, the fact that there is a council district representing this area ensures that some portion of the limited economic development budget will be spent unwisely, solely for political reasons.