PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
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.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Peter O’Dowd follows the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train 150 years ago, to look at modern-day race relations and Lincoln's legacy.

Robin and Jeremy

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

May 5 Comment

Brandi Carlile Channels Many Styles To Make Her Music

Seattle singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile draws inspiration from a variety of influences, from the Grand Ole Opry to The Beatles.

Royal Caribbean President Sees A Future In Asia

Cruise lines are looking to expand in China, where a growing middle class offers new potential customers.

Baltimore Photographer Captures Zeitgeist

Devin Allen is a self-taught, 26-year-old photographer whose photos bring the world to the streets of the city.

May 4 Comment

A Pen-Pal Friendship Changes Two Lives

Caitlin Alifirenka of Pennsylvania and Martin Ganda of Zimbabwe became best friends – and better people – through their exchange.