You have to spend money to make money
Cities across the country struggle against the erosion of their tax bases and infrastructure and stubborn unemployment.
In Pennsylvania the state Legislature has been indifferent to cities' problems, doing nothing to reform the commonwealth's archaic local governance structure that underlies a great deal of municipal decline.
While the General Assembly has been passive, the U.S. House apparently has decided to be an active menace. It has approved a proposal to reduce federal community development block grant funding by 41 percent in the next fiscal year, from this year's $3 billion to $1.67 billion.
About 1,200 municipal governments nationwide receive CDBG funding, which they use to contribute to economic development, improve neighborhoods and parks, fight blight, improve public safety and so on.
Sen. Bob Casey has asked his colleagues to reject the House funding proposal in favor of a proposal by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development that would increase funding by a modest 5 percent, from $3 billion to $3.15 billion.
Doing so would help to drive economic development in cities that sorely need the help, especially since state and federal funding for many institutions, which tend to be located in cities, also has been deeply cut over the last five years.
State Reps. Tom Marino and Lou Barletta, Republicans, and Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Democrat, should help to support the cities in or next door to their districts by supporting the Senate CDBG funding proposal.