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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Struggling Pennsylvania Cities Are Hamstrung By State Law, Bad Decisions

In Pennsylvania, so many cities and towns are in financial distress that one economic development specialist has what he calls a “measles map” of the state, covered with 27 red dots representing struggling communities.

One in four Pennsylvanians lives in a financially distressed city or town. There’s Scranton, where this month the Mayor cut city workers’ pay to minimum wage. In the state capital Harrisburg, money is so tight that the city, which filed for bankruptcy last year, recently entered into “Act 47,” the state’s 25-year-old program to turn around the worst-case local governments. They’ll have a recovery plan created for them, but the city doesn’t have to adopt it. In fact, only six cities have ever graduated from Act 47.

Stephen Fehr, senior writer for Stateline.org, says Act 47 is an ambitious program but it doesn’t accomplish a lot because the state can’t control outside events such as the drop in manufacturing jobs, court rulings that back higher pay for municipal workers, and bad fiscal decisions made by local elected leaders.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 22 2 Comments

Remains Of Clovis Boy Reburied In Montana

DNA from the boy buried 12,600 years ago shows his people were ancestors of many of today's native peoples.

July 22 Comment

After Malaysia Airlines Crash, A Closer Look At Planning Flight Paths

Retired pilot John Ransom discusses how to factor in war zones, and how the decision is made to close an airspace.

July 21 Comment

Boxing Attracts More Than Would-Be Fighters

At the Ring Boxing Club, boxers range in age, are both men and women, and include an award-winning author.

July 21 Comment

Why Hot Cars Are So Deadly

An average of 38 kids die in a hot car every year in the U.S. We look at the science of why cars get so hot so fast, and why children are more vulnerable.