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Mayors gather in Philly, ‘done asking for help’

Lively debate among leaders across U.S. includes new findings of slight, steady economic growth.

A new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors says that the country has seen slight, but steady economic growth since 2009, but that infrastructure spending continues to lag behind other countries.

The group, now lead by Mayor Michael Nutter, released the report Thursday during their summer leadership meeting being held this week in Center City. Metropolitan areas account for nearly 91 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and almost 84 percent of the population.

The report indicates that unemployment is expected to fall to 8 percent by the end of the year, and that household budgets are being helped by a decline in gas prices. But the report also points out that the U.S. ranks 24th in the quality of overall infrastructure spending behind nations like Switzerland, France, Japan and South Korea.

Mayors on both sides of the aisle said they are frustrated with years of inaction by Congress on spending for roads, bridges, and public transportation, which they say will translate to jobs and reduced traffic congestion.

“We’re done asking the federal government for help,” exclaimed Frank Ortis, mayor of Pembroke Pines, Fla. “We’re going to (Capitol) Hill and say ‘We want action, we want to be able to put our people to work.’”

The nonpartisan group also called on both presidential candidates to review the report, which was prepared by IHS Global Insight, and lay out their plans to invest in cities.

“We need a response from the two candidates running for president as to what will your plans, what will your policies be to increase investment in cities and metro areas all across America,” Nutter said. “That should be a part of a platform, that should be a part of this campaign.”

Mayors ask Romney for his tax returns

Twenty mayors signed and released a letter Thursday to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney urging him to disclose more information and release his federal income tax returns.

"Remember when you auditioned to be John McCain's vice presidential pick? You gladly handed over twenty-three years of tax returns," the letter reads. "Now, as you audition for the American people, you think only one full year is good enough. It isn't."

Even prominent Republicans have joined in on the debate recently amid speculation that Romney has paid a lower tax rate than most Americans and has assets in offshore accounts.

 
 
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