Excellent point from Patrick Kennedy. Harrisburg needs a Dauphin County-sized tax base:
Harrisburg is a city of 50,000 people. It’s also a state seat. Its boundaries are very small and its major industry is tax exempt. Most of the people that work in said state seat live outside of the city proper. Because they can. Because said state built an infrastructure availing housing opportunities at an ever increasing edge, chewing up evermore agricultural land. There is no mass transit available, and like most increasingly sprawling and disconnected places, it wouldn’t make a difference. The infrastructure is built in a way that mass transit would never be as “convenient” as driving.
The metropolitan area of Harrisburg, PA is about 650,000 people. And that doesn’t even include metropolitan York, PA nor metro Lancaster, PA. A triangle, all about 30 minutes apart. Or less than it is from Dallas to the majority of its suburbs. Combine those three metropolitan areas and Harrisburg, a city (tax base) of 50,000, as its primary job center, has to support a super-metro area of about 1.3 million people.