Northeast Ohio Mayors Set Sights on Shared Regional Prosperity

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Frustrated by years of “go-it-alone” interregional competition for jobs and economic development, mayors from the 16-county Northeast Ohio region (including Cleveland) voted recently to pursue a new regional agenda. The plan will include a regional tax sharing agreement and joint land use planning.

This came on the heals of a new report, the Northeast Ohio Economic Revenue Study, authored by the Lorain County Community College and Amerigis, a private research firm led by regional-governance guru Myron Orfield. It found that the region’s cities and suburbs are overwhelmingly struggling with weak tax base, slow growth and growing social needs. Moreover, the way the region is currently growing means that these issues will only get worse.

Smart regional planning is crucial to Northeast Ohio; an area whose population is not growing, but is sprawling further and further from the central cities and inner-ring suburbs. Also, the study finds that tax sharing would allow two-thirds of the region’s residents to get better services at less cost. A portion of tax revenues (40 percent of property taxes and 20 percent of income taxes) from new commercial and industrial projects would be shared among the region.

The Twin Cities Metropolitan Region is a pioneer in regional planning with a regional governance system and a metro-wide tax revenue sharing agreement. Montgomery County, Ohio and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania also adopted revenue sharing agreements.

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