Harrisburg has more than incinerator debt

By Cate Long
October 14, 2011

The current bankruptcy drama in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is just the third act of a long running effort to make the city something more than a corridor for those who commute into the city for work. Most of the current debt problems of Harrisburg stem from failed projects intended to revitalize the city and extremely bad business decisions.

A Harrisburg scorecard

By Cate Long
October 14, 2011

“Who benefits from all this tap-dancing? Who’s interest is the Commonwealth promoting? Not the public, not the city of Harrisburg. They are promoting the interests of the bond insurers.”

The Dummies Guide to the Pension Crisis

By Cate Long
September 14, 2011

Hat tip to Ted Nesi of WPRI.com for pointing out this excellent union sponsored video that discusses the problems for the public pensions of Rhode Island. Although the details are specific to that state the structural problems apply to almost every state because public pensions across America are underfunded. Every state faces problems that are politically or financially difficult. Either taxpayers will be paying more to top pension plans or retirees will be receiving smaller pension payments. Pension reform is a complex topic and I hope we see more educational efforts like this video.

Local governments’ tough choices between payrolls or bond payments?

By Cate Long
September 1, 2011

Harrisburg walks the well worn path

The capitol city of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, is functionally if not legally bankrupt. Yesterday the City council voted against the mayor’s rescue plan which would have brought them a small reprieve but would not have fixed their core financial issues. The city’s main problem is a grossly expensive incinerator project which has burdened the city with way too much debt. Their situation is similar to the sewer system woes of  Jefferson County, Alabama on about one tenth the scale. Like Jefferson County, anger about bondholders being prioritized ahead of the needs of citizens was on display at yesterday’s city council meeting. From Reuters:

Harrisburg, PA next?

By Cate Long
August 25, 2011

Bankruptcy for Harrisburg finally?

The fiscal troubles plaguing Harrisburg, Pennsylvania have been well telegraphed in muniland. Reuters detailed the problems earlier this month: