People in Berlin and throughout Germany recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. These commemorations should prompt some reflection closer to home, specifically on the state of local government in the St. Louis area. Doing so raises a fundamental question: If it’s possible for East and West Germany to be reunited, why can’t there be meaningful municipal reorganizations in St. Louis city and county? Whatever barriers we perceive in our community are minuscule in comparison with those that had to be dismantled in Germany.
A group studying the potential for a merger between St. Louis and St. Louis County released a report on regional economic development policy Wednesday.
Among other things, Better Together’s 31-page report examines tax increment financing (TIF) in the city and the county. While the report emphasizes that some TIFs have been beneficial to municipalities, the study contends that the widespread use of TIFs is pitting municipalities against each other.
Updated Monday, March 3, 2014 to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.
Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar remembers a time when his home city was described by travel writers as “Indianapolis No Place.”
When the Indiana Republican became mayor of Indianapolis in the 1960s, the city was mired in a “mediocre, flat situation.” He said it received “very little interest to anybody outside who was not involved parochially.”
Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar says bringing local governments can strengthen the health – and brighten the future -- of urban communities.
The Indiana Republican was the keynote speaker for a St. Louis University Law School symposium on merging St. Louis and St. Louis County. He was a key figure in banding together city of Indianapolis with Marion County in the 1970s.
Lugar says merging the two governments had skeptics. But he says it attracted jobs, sports teams and tourists – and reinvigorated civic life.