The municipality of Harrisburg, Pa. has $610 million in liabilities – ten times its yearly budget. The kid’s grades are pretty bad, and those who can live outside the city do, but the school buildings are beautiful, and they own a hotel and a minor league baseball team.
At least the mayor who ran the city – into the ground – from 1982 through 2010 is gone. I’d call him Boss Hog, but that may be too nice. From Reason TV via Big Government.
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.
Few cities can top Harrisburg’s recklessness when it comes to spending and borrowing.