GMAT : Analysis of An Argument

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An Argument

77. The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper.

This city should be able to improve existing services and provide new ones without periodically raising the taxes of the residents. Instead, the city should require that the costs of services be paid for by developers, but they can also raise a city's expenses and increase the demand for its services.


Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.


In this editorial the author argues that improvements to existing city services as well as new services should be paid for by developers rather than by taxpayers. In support of this opinion, the author points out that the developers can make large profits from building projects and that these projects increase the demand for city services and raise the city's expenses.

I disagree with the author's opinion for two reasons.

First, the fact that developers stand to make profits from their projects is not a good reason to require them to pay more than their fair share of the costs of services. In fact, to require them to do this in order to win approval of their projects is tantamount to bribery. City officials would find it difficult to justify a policy that endorsed this practice. Moreover, the adoption of such a practice would discourage the development of new buildings in the city.

Second, the increase in demand for city services as well as the increase in the city's expenses will most likely be offset by the tax revenues these projects generate. Consequently, unless the author can demonstrate that the city will incur expenses that are not covered by the increased revenues from these projects, the author's concern about these issues is unfounded.

In conclusion, I find the author's reasoning on this issue unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author will have to show that the city will be harmed financially by approving new building projects.

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