Monday, June 21, 2010

Cities drowing in debt

HARRISBURG, PA. -- This city has a $68 million bill coming due before year's end, an impossible sum that is larger than its annual budget. It's a predicament caused by extravagant borrowing and spending, and now there are only unpleasant fixes: steep tax increases, severe layoffs and crippling service cuts, even bankruptcy.

It's a story that could be repeated across the country as cities and towns deal with the lingering consequences of the economic downturn and mounting debt.

The obligations of state and local governments have doubled in the past decade, to $2.4 trillion, according to a recent Federal Reserve report, a figure that excludes more than $1 trillion in unfunded pension and retiree health-care liabilities.
Read the rest here.

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