Harrisburg becomes Pa.’s 20th financially distressed city

    Pennsylvania  officials have deemed Harrisburg “financially distressed,” and are moving forward with a plan to provide the city with financial protection.It’s the 20th city to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s Act 47 designation. Harrisburg joins Scranton, Pittsburgh, Reading, Chester and 15 other cities in seeking state help for financial problems.Richard Schuettler of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities said it’s a troublesome trend.”If all of the core communities in Pennsylvania are starting to fail, what does it say for Pennsylvania as  a state, and our ability to grow? I think we need to focus on that fact, and focus on that we need these communities to be healthy,” he said. “The healthier they are, the healthier the state is. And the more attractive we are to businesses and residents.”Schuettler said municipalities’ problems are due to what he calls an antiquated tax structure, on top of burdensome service demands.He said population shifts from cities to suburbs have also hurt, Act 47 designation lets cities work with state-appointed coordinators to create recovery plans. It also provides access to state loans and grants, and lets municipalities restructure their debt.

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