Read my latest at Philly Mag!
Philadelphians aren’t used to thinking about these issues, because our city is the only combined city-county in the state.
Clearly this arrangement has not resulted in particularly impressive levels of racial economic equality. But imagine how much worse off we’d be if wealthier neighborhoods like Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy decided to secede from the Philadelphia School District and stopped paying into the pot.
Then imagine how much worse off than that we’d be — particularly the poorest of us — if the income and property taxes of the richest areas of the city were not thrown into the same general fund for city services along with the relatively meager revenues collected from the poorest areas, but were instead cloistered within 72 different municipal governments and 16 different school districts. Would the poorest areas of Philadelphia be able to tax themselves enough to afford the same quality of police services that they have today?
Obviously not. But that is the situation that every Pennsylvania city outside Philadelphia finds itself in. The implications for racial equality are horrifying, and they did horrify Tom Wolf.