Cross-posted from Lehigh Valley Independent
Pennsylvania's fractured system of 2566 local governments creates a strong and counterproductive incentive for municipalities to compete with each other for revenue instead of cooperate.
It is in the interest of each one to be the very last unconsolidated town, so it can entice new businesses with a comparatively lower tax rate.
Because of this incentive, no board of township supervisors is going to vote to dissolve their own political power and consolidate local government at the county level.
Municipal consolidation is simply not possible on a voluntary basis, as defined by votes at the level of the municipality or the county. It must happen, all at once, in Harrisburg, or it's not going to happen at all.
Lastly, any path to actually getting it done runs up against the political power of PSATS, who would necessarily cease to exist if we dissolved township-level governance.
I'm not really interested in debating the merits of municipal consolidation in this post. I want to hear from the people who both want this to happen, and believe there's a way to make it happen. From those people, I want to know:
What is the political game plan? What elections need to be won, and which incumbents need to be replaced?
What is the political message?
What can be done to make elected officials fear being beaten in the next election if they aren't on board with regional planning and governance?
Can the pension problem be used as a vehicle for municipal consolidation and tax base sharing?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.