To me, the reasons to oppose the Better Together plan if and when it arrives on the November 2020 statewide ballot have nothing to do with dollars. It's oppressive to have our local governance dismantled by state residents who don't live here. It's chilling to consider how much damage will be done to the influence of the black community. It's cruel to emasculate proud cities, large and small, that have in some cases flourished for centuries. Then there's the hubris in dismissing as unacceptable an earnings tax approved by 72 percent of city voters. Hidden agendas abound.
But let's also accept that the status quo is broken. The city is crime-ridden and financially in peril. The county is plagued with balkanization and, like the city, is stagnant and governmentally challenged.
And hey, $4.9 billion isn't chump change. That's definitely end-justifies-the-means money. It's certainly worth a look.
I spent an hour by phone last week with Dave Leipholtz, BT's director of community-based studies, and some members of his team. The BT staff was accessible and professional, with none of the dismissiveness that has characterized some of BT's public posture.
But here's what I found: They just don't have the goods. There are no facts whatsoever to support the notion that forming the proposed metro city will cut government costs at all, much less save billions and billions.