FLASHBACK: Is Harrisburg’s Nightmare America’s Future?

Reason TV:

The city of Harrisburg is Ground Zero for America’s municipal debt crisis.

Pennsylvania’s capital city has liabilities estimated at $610 million, which is nearly ten times its annual budget. The city is so deep in the red that last year it attempted to file for bankruptcy. Reckless spending did more than ruin Harrisburg’s balance sheet; it crowded out private industry and distracted from the city’s core functions. Today, Harrisburg is a dangerous, poverty-stricken city, with failing schools and a shrinking population.

Harrisburg’s fiscal nightmare may be a harbinger of things to come for American cities. In the mid-90s, local governments embarked on a spending binge, bringing total municipal debt in the United States to more than $2.8 trillion. Along with Harrisburg, Jefferson County, Alabama, Vallejo, California, and Central Falls, Rhode Island have filed for bankruptcy in the past few years. Several more cities are on the brink of default, largely thanks to taxpayer-financed stadiums, museums, housing, commercial complexes, other misconceived economic development projects, and runaway public sector salaries, pensions, and benefit packages.

Is your hometown the next Harrisburg?

Related Links:

Going For Broke: Another California City Files for Bankruptcy 

The Detroit Implosion: Detroit residents spell out their greatest concerns as city teeters on the brink

California City Could Go Bankrupt from High Public Sector Costs

California Still Dead: CalPERS Bribes, Tax Assessor Bribes, Stockton Bankruptcy

Krauthammer on Scranton and Bankruptcy

Half-Time is Over, it’s game over: Dire finances leave Detroit stalled

Where Did All The Money Go?


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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