MSM: Pennsylvania State Capital Mulls Bankruptcy as a Budget Option

(Bloomberg) – Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, will consider Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection along with tax increases and asset sales as options to address $68 million in debt service payments due this year, the chairwoman of a City Council committee said last night.

Dunstan McNichol
Bloomberg
February 4, 2010

Every option, including tax and fee increases, bankruptcy and a state takeover through Pennsylvania’s Act 47 municipal oversight program will be considered, said Susan Brown-Wilson, chairwoman of the Budget and Finance Committee, which began a week of hearings last night to consider a 2010 spending plan.

The $68 million in debt service payments that Harrisburg faces in connection with the construction of a waste incinerator this year is four times what the city of 47,000 expects to raise through property taxes, and $4 million more than the city’s entire proposed operating budget.

“We need to see, what does Act 47 do for us; what does bankruptcy do,” Wilson said in an interview during a break in the opening budget hearing at Harrisburg City Hall. “You have to have all of them on the table.”

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