Please tell me that you are aware that the suburbs do not generate enough tax money to support themselves, by and large?
Are we talking about property tax? And support what: roads, schools, hospitals, etc...? Developers share the cost of construction by and large.
I am not arguing with you, because i have never seen real statistics on these... but just by looking around town, knowing relative property values and transaction volumes ( if we are including the percentage of sales tax we might get) i would wager that a Mandarin more than likely generates more tax revenue than any equally populated piece of the "urban core"
But i think, where you may have an argument in other cities where there was a larger urban community in the ww2 era that migrated outwards, Jacksonville was always smaller, more rural, satellite communities that grew together over time. Population increases contributed to the sprawl ( which contributes to tax revenues) and I do agree, poor planning and zoning did have a place in the causes. But so did bad schools ( still a problem) bad crime, and variety of other social aspects: cheap gas and land... not necessarily things you can control.
But to say that we can solve this by urbanizing, i think we miss a larger perspective. The first of which is the point I always make is that a lot of the "urban core" is not currently a desirable place to live or do business ( depending on your business) or to attract viable prospects of either. A lot of work has been made in Springfield, but that is only recently. This, downtown and riverside is not large enough to support an urban center of the size of a city that we are projected to be
. Much more progress will have to be made in the surrounding areas, including zoning issues and perhaps even ripping out a "historic" piece here and there, but then you are up against the same battles we are currently talking about.
We need more long term solutions, progress is being made, but in the same modular way the problems took hold. Relaxing development regulation does not have to mean the same thing as destroying the environment or compromising historic values but some sacrifices will have to be made. This type of fight against the status quo is everywhere... to demonize a specific group because they disagree with you, well... that is no way to make progress.
Will this corporate deal really help? I think, Stephen, you might find the same arguments about downtown not supporting itself. Especially with the expenses that come out of the City purse. But it is the type of Corporate welfare everyone gripes at the Tea Party for defacto supporting... and here they stand against it, and they are still painted as being wrong, bad and against their own principles.
I would be interested in seeing actual stats to support your premise, as it might change my mind about some of the arguments you present, but until then i am just not buying it, not in jacksonville anyways.