What it Takes to Share


Elected officials from Northeast Ohio are taking a very hard look at whether the region can implement a revenue sharing program that would allow communities to participate in and benefit from economic growth. Sharing tax revenue among communities may sound like a radical idea, but it really isn’t. It’s done in pockets in Northeast Ohio (particularly in Summit County) and its been widely adopted in one of the Midwest’s most competitive region’s — the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

One of the key advocates for revenue sharing is Myron Orfield, executive director of the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. The former state legislator is working with the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association on its revenue sharing study. You can watch a series of videos of Myron explaining how revenue sharing could help make our region more competitive on the Regional Economic Revenue Study web site.

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# Submitted by Linda Ro (not verified) on Thu, 02/14/2008 – 21:48.

In theory, this ia a great idea. I see two current problems. 1) The idea as I understand it is that the suburbs will share a % of their revenue growth with Youngstown. However, the suburbs are facing financial problems, too. Witness Boardman. This leaves little to share. 2) I would want to know who is going to control the money. I would trust Youngstown officials about as far as I could throw them, and I’m a pretty weak female. When a commission of businessmen was put in charge of the Chevy Center, the City Councilmen threw them out, and most of us in the suburbs think it was so the Councilmen could get kickbacks. Unless there is going to be very honest, very close oversight of any shared funds, most suburbanites will oppose the plan. This same feeling plays into Mayor Williams’ JEDD plan even though I like him alot. 3) I do think Louisville’s system of shared purchasing leading to shared services but leaving each community’s elected officials in place might work here.

# Submitted by cthompson on Fri, 02/15/2008 – 08:08.

Thanks Linda for the post.

The key to making revenue sharing work is to have a large enough pool of dollars shared that the vast majority of communities benefit — even struggling suburbs. I agree that governments will have to demonstrate that they are investing the “shared revenue” wisely. The experience in the Twin Cities shows it can be done. Minneapolis has gone from being a beneficiary of revenue sharing to the single largest contributor to the revenue pool. So big cities can turn things around. Regarding shared purchasing, I hope you’ll encourage your elected officials to join NEOSO, a shared purchasing program that is generating meaningful savings for communities throughout Northeast Ohio.

Author: advance759