Connecting state and local government leaders
Also: Concerns over uneven neighborhood policing in Dallas and strong support for cigarette tax hike in Idaho.
Here’s some of what we’ve been reading today …
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: Legislators in the Keystone State have a new idea for international airports to raise revenue: Allow slot machines in the terminals for ticketed passengers to play. PennLive.com asks: “Why go to Las Vegas to gamble when you could do it at the airport?” Supporters say slots would raise revenue while not assessing new fees that increase the cost of tickets for passengers. But not all Pennsylvania airports like the plan. The CEO of Philadelphia International Airport submitted testimony that airport slots would “negatively impact the positive image of the airport we are working so hard to create and deliver.” [PennLive.com]
RALEIGH, North Carolina: Thirteen rural Tar Heel State municipalities will be getting downtown revitalization grants of about $100,000 each, even though, as The News & Observer reports, “some of them never asked for money and their legislators say they don’t know how the towns were selected.” It’s the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the often awkward relationship between North Carolina’s GOP-controlled legislature and the state’s local governments. “It was a complete surprise, and I think that was the case for all the communities,” Sarah Edwards, director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corp., told the newspaper. “I don’t know that anybody really knew about it.” [The News & Observer]
BOISE, Idaho: A new poll shows strong support for a proposed 2016 ballot initiative to raise Idaho’s tax on cigarettes and use the revenue to reduce college tuition, according to Idaho Politics Weekly. The poll shows that if the initiative were on the ballot today, 65 percent of voters would “definitely” or “probably” support it. The initiative is being spearheaded by a group of former college friends. As The Spokesman-Review detailed in September, the bar is set very high for ballot proposals to make it to a public vote, requiring more than 47,000 signatures including 6 percent of voters in Idaho’s 18 legislative districts. [Idaho Politics Weekly; The Spokesman-Review]
DALLAS, Texas: Are wealthier neighborhoods in Dallas getting better police protection? As The Dallas Morning News reports, some neighborhoods are paying for extra police patrols. In 2003, there were 50 such “Expanded Neighborhood Patrols” but today, there are 80 such programs. Critics say that the programs puts poorer neighborhoods at a disadvantage and creates unequal policing. [The Dallas Morning News]
DETROIT, Michigan: The city of Detroit has been viewed as fertile ground to test out urban agriculture initiatives, and on Monday, Mayor Mike Duggan announced a deal to transfer 40 acres of city-controlled land near Eastern Market to the RecoveryPark farming project. As the Detroit Free Press reported “RecoveryPark will build plastic-wrapped hoop houses for growing vegetables year-round on up to 3 acres of the land. In years to come, the effort will construct more permanent growing sheds on the remainder of the land.” [Detroit Free Press]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.