I should have known better than to title a blog "Town Economics." Hardly anyone read it, and those that did, from their comments on Facebook, assumed that the title referred to taxes and government revenue. Which is like assuming that "Yellowstone ecosystem" = the National Park Service budget. The NPS helps to protect the ecosystem with their funds, but theoretically, Yellowstone should be able to exist without them.
Forget council and taxes for a minute. Our economy is the money going into and coming out of the pockets of residents and business owners--you and me. Is the money going in greater than the amount we each need to survive? If so, is it greater than the amount we need to not only survive, but improve our quality of life?
First of all, are we earning money? Norristown's unemployment rate is 7.3% as of May, 2013--higher than, say, King of Prussia, yes, but down significantly from 10% last January. Unfortunately, though, at least a fifth of our residents don't earn enough for basic necessities.
How are our businesses doing? The only statistic I have is from 2007, when our retail sales averaged about $5400 per capita. The average for all Pennsylvania was more than 2 and a half times that at the time. We need to do better.
The point of the first blog was that we can improve our economy by NOT spending our bucks at corporate businesses that take their profit out of our town. Instead, patronize the businesses owned by our fellow residents, who then use the money to improve their businesses and create more/better jobs, or to (hopefully) spend at other resident businesses. Maybe a town-wide Chamber of Commerce could get our businesses working together?
We need to stop thinking of Norristown as merely a government entity where we happen to live. We need to get rid of our "every man for himself" (or every business/family/cultural group for itself) attitude, and start thinking of ourselves as a community.