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Op-Ed: Where GOP Is Strong, Cities Receive Less

When it comes to federal appropriations, urban areas in states dominated by rural Republicans are at a distinct disadvantage. In search of lobbying power, metros in affected states are banding together.
April 11, 2015, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Alan Greenblatt makes the case that cities are hampered in states where legislators tend Republican: "[...] partisan divisions have become more aligned with regional ones. Most urban delegations are dominated by Democrats, while most rural and many suburban representatives are Republican."

Rural and suburban Congresspeople can get reelected by advancing an anti-urban agenda. "But the lack of urban voices within many majorities means cities are bound to lose out on some appropriations. 'When the urban economies are responsible for 70 percent of the state's revenue, you would think we would get more respect, but we don't,' says Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. 'In our state, it seems like the easiest way for a rural legislator to score points at home is to take a shot at Oklahoma City.'"

Strategies have arisen to reverse what might be called a self-destructive tendency. Greenblatt writes, "In response to this trend, major metropolitan areas in some states are forming alliances, hoping to speak collectively with a more powerful voice. In Kentucky, Louisville has joined with other sizable cities to form a 'metro alliance for growth.'" Solutions proposed include local tax measures and other decentralized means of raising money, independent of federal or even state control.

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Published on Sunday, March 1, 2015 in Governing Magazine
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