Sunday, July 02, 2006

Reading, PA

As I've talked about before, the first suburbs become the next slums and the suburbs push themselves out some more.

I was reading in an editorial about Reading’s problems today and here is part of what it said:

For more than a decade the problems of urban decay and crime have been creeping into the first ring of sub-urbs surrounding Reading, and they won’t stop there. As populations increase in Maidencreek, Robeson, Union, South Heidelberg, Ontelaunee and other townships, the troubles will follow.

Secondly, the article highlights two areas (rightly) which would help “revitalize” the community, business development and tourism. For both of these things a well structured downtown urban district is absolutely essential and only thing can do that, The Land Value Tax.

Without getting into the local democracy problems, the editors are advocating a county wide .25% increase in the property tax. However, this will do nothing to solve the problems of the downtown area. True, it will employ more police officers. However, the objective should be to eliminate the route causes of crime rather then breading those causes.

If Reading was to implement the LVT or SRT (split rate tax) and the county imposed a .25% or better tax on land and not on buildings they could achieve three goals at once. They could pay for the cost of the police officers in the short term, they could achieve revitalization of the downtown in the medium term and they could dramatically lower the crime at the same time.

Harrisburg did it and it worked out well for them. In 25 years registered businesses increased from 1900 to 5700 and the empty lots in Harrisburg went from 4,200 to 400. Clearly, a dramatic improvement. Reading could do the same with its city if it chose to do so.

Write a letter to the editor of Reading Eagle here:

We welcome letters from readers. Letters should be brief (about 200 words) and address a specific topic of general interest. For verification purposes include your full name, address, and telephone number (day & evening) also please include your e-mail. Concise letters will get preferential treatment and are less likely to be condensed. E-mail your letter to or if you prefer to mail your letters, please address to:

P.O. BOX 582
READING, PA. 19603-0582
or Fax: 610-371-5098

Online Editor here:

Al Walentis Online Editor