Monday, March 30, 2015

Harrisburg bankrupt

Pennsylvania's capital expected to file for state help today

Harrisburg bankrupt

Harrisburg Patriot-News and the Bond Buyer are reporting Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson will ask Pennsylvania to take the city into its Act 47 program, joining Pittsburgh and other insolvent towns that can't or won't pay back what they've borrowed, after the state capital's city council refused to back the mayor's proposal to plan sales of parks, utilities and other assets.

State financial control could also allow Harrisburg to collect state taxpayer aid; to change terms of future union contracts and other agreements; boost taxes; and submit to a financial recovery plan like the one Philadelphia labored under after its near-fiscal crisis starting in the 1980s.

Harrisburg's biggest problem is $282 million it committed to financing for a trash incinerator  that never got finished. Camden County NJ faces a roughly similar problem with its own inefficient trash-burner.

Announcement expected from Thompson and Gov. Rendell at noon.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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