It’s especially frustrating to have to correct this, because he really does know better. A few months ago Bernie and I were at the same brown bag lunch discussion on municipal finance in Pennsylvania.
We I learned that city revenue comes primarily from real estate taxes, while Second Class township revenue comes mostly from Earned Income Taxes:
This trend has accelerated over the past 4 decades:
Bernie’s “analysis” strangely only looks at taxes on real estate, and ignores all other kinds of taxes.
This is a significant error, especially because
we I also learned that all Pennsylvania municipalities follow a predictable path to fiscal decline:
Wealthier residents move toward the periphery chasing the mirage of lower taxes. City populations shrink and the people left behind are poorer on average. But services still need to be provided across the same geographical area, so each city household must pay more for the same services.
The actual problem here is that all the arbitrary political borders create perverse incentives to shuffle wealth around within the region, to the detriment of the cities and the regional economy. If taxes are too high in the cities, it’s because they’re artificially low in the townships. The solution is a regional tax base.
As a general rule of thumb, great skepticism is in order whenever you see Bernie wielding numbers.