September 29 2010

With any luck, we're welcoming a number of readers back to IssuesPA in addition to meeting new readers.

If you take the Way Back Machine with us to 2002, it's clear that much in the world has evolved: the internet was still kind of a new way to communicate and organize communities of thought, gambling expansion in PA was still a question, and the city of Philadelphia accepted only paper for recycling. Eight years later, gaming expansion is a reality (although many of the venues are not, yet), Philadelphians can put even #7 plastics curbside, and establishing a web presence for important state issues proved to be a good bet.*

Some things, however, have not changed. An August 2002 IssuesPA post is both amusing and a little disheartening: it's the gubernatorial candidates answering the question, "What should the state’s role be in ensuring the provision of essential local government services?"

A still evolving question, to be sure. The trouble is that during the years elapsed, instead of the paved road to prosperity, many of the state's 2,500+ municipalities have careered onto the rumble strip and are steering as best they can. The question has become not just what's the role of the state? but rather, which services should be provided by which level of government? 

In addition to more than 2,500 municipalities, there are 67 counties, 2,000+ quasi-governmental authorities, hundreds of school districts.... Not only is the state of our local governments a fiscal and management issue, it's a state and regional competitiveness issue during these extremely testing times.

Thus, IssuesPA going forward will shine a light on Pennsylvania's local governance systems and anaylze potential changes that could be adopted. We'll dip into our west, central, and east archives of studies and reports (many are already sorted here by year and topic) and keep abreast of what's coming down the road. The challenges know no party affiliation. We welcome you to join us in thinking about how government can best serve the citizens of the Commonwealth.

(*And now we have Twitter! Follow us @IssuesPA!)

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