Maybe we’re thinking of the wrong kind of unigov?

The recent Kettering Health Network move in Greene County had me thinking of what impact a new health campus might have on Montgomery County. What happens when doctors, who work at Kettering- want to move to Beavercreek- so that they won’t have to pay income taxes? A giant sucking sound? Possibly.

One of the reasons we see both the Greene and the Mall at Fairfield Commons right on the edge of Montgomery County is because RTA doesn’t extend service to either. It’s a racist way of keeping “bus people” away from the malls. That also means RTA, which depends on sales tax revenue, misses out on all that retail sales tax.

Most of the talk of “Unigov” or “Regional Government” has been about merging cities within Montgomery County for efficiencies. However, communities like Oakwood and Kettering just don’t want to play along. We have all these different taxing districts, with so many different tax rates. We have over 20 police chiefs- the whole thing is what happens when evolution is left unchecked- freaks of government emerge.

Maybe we should be considering merging Montgomery and Greene County instead? Expand Five Rivers Metroparks across the two counties, one street maintenance organization, one sheriff, and, maybe even a prosecutor that believes in handing out justice (and no, Mat Heck, I’m sure not talking about you). We have one sales tax that covers RTA, the Arts, and Parks and Rec. We have one income tax über county wide- that is divvied up per capita, with a kicker to any community that buys more services from the county- ie: building inspection, code enforcement, street maintenance, “economic development,” police, fire. As time goes by, we have at least one strong regional leader to project a sense of direction. Plus, our MSA becomes significant.

I don’t think anyone is as connected to County government the way they are to Municipal government- and that could be our ace in the hole. Your thoughts?

The big problem is we’re getting smaller.

Population loss isn’t the same as weight loss. Putting people back in your community isn’t easy. And, believe it or not- just like love- you can’t buy them either.

This is our fundamental problem in Dayton (the big D- not just the city proper). Since our politicians are so focused on income (both the tax kind and the political donation kind)- they fail to understand that everything they do must be evaluated by what is right for the “Greater Good.”

Using “The Greene” as an example- how did the $15+ million in incentives that Greene County and Beavercreek forked over work out? Sure, they got a bump in jobs- that pay income tax, and there are more property taxes coming in thanks to the improvements, and last but not least- sales tax collections went up. Great, fantastic, amazing.

Until you realize that since the population hasn’t grown one iota in the area in the last 10 years, what we just did was subsidize one developer while leaving the last one (that would be the Mall at Fairfield Commons) with less. Now, we’re just talking about the big boys here. Let’s look at what this does to the small fry.

We’ve had many local independent restaurants close up shop. We’ve had higher vacancy rates in other retail locations. Kettering has had to stretch it’s police and fire to deal with problems that it didn’t have before, and Dayton has lost some more office tenants to the new buildings (Robbins & Meyers HQ for one).

This is an example of government redistributing wealth- instead of building it. We need more people in the region, we need more interest in the creation of jobs, not the moving of them. We need to find a competitive advantage and maximize it, or we’ll just continue rearranging deck chairs on a ship that’s not just sinking- it’s shrinking at the same time.

Sportsplex is a big idea. Cheap, bountiful water is a big advantage. Low cost of doing business is a draw. Walkable communities are a big plus as gas prices rise. Simplified business requirements makes things easier to start and run a business. Fair tax systems (and not the “Fair Tax” plan) help keep things moving (subsidizing the Cheesecake factory while ignoring Dominics etc.).

Somehow, we have to start evaluating every tax expenditure based on the idea of what will it do to make the area so attractive to business and people so that they won’t want tax breaks- but will be thinking they are getting a great deal?

Why would people want to live in LA and fight traffic, live in NYC and pay crazy rent for a closet to live in, when they could be in Dayton? Figure that out, focus on it, and before long- you won’t be handing out money with every building permit- and we’ll be getting real net growth, not redistributed wealth.