Petitioning for Bankruptcy, Lost Airbnb Revenue and Downgrading New Mexico View Newsletter in Browser;137963762;j? to Governing Magazine & Newsletters on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn Petitioning for Bankruptcy, Lost Airbnb Revenue and Downgrading New Mexico By Liz Farmer Activists in financially beleaguered Scranton, Pa., are petitioning for a ballot initiative that would let residents decide if the city should file for bankruptcy. It’s a first-of-its-kind petition and reflects the ongoing frustrations of a city that’s been “fiscally distressed" for two decades. Scranton is one of Pennsylvania’s Act 47 cities, which designates it as fiscally distressed and opens it up to aid and other resources from the state. The designation also means that the city must comply with certain fiscal requirements, such as developing a recovery plan. But Act 47 has had its problems, the biggest being that it doesn’t seem to provide enough oversight. For example in 2011, the Scranton City Council voted to lower property taxes to provide relief for residents. But the move intensified the city’s budget problems, which included legacy costs, a shrinking tax base and limited access to the credit market. “Why council and executive actions that do not comply with a recovery plan are not constrained by Act 47 is a mystery," wrote Natalie Cohen, Wells Fargo’s managing director for municipal research, in a recent analysis. Another big program is that cities languish in the program for decades. The act became law in 1987 and by 2012, 14 municipalities across the state had been in the program more than a decade. Some, like Scranton, have been in the program for more than 20 years. Keep Reading >> ADVERTISEMENT;137968432;g? MORE FINANCE NEWS & COMMENTARY To Limit Debt or Make It Limitless? 2 States’ Voters Will Decide. In an anti-debt climate, one state aims to rein it in while another tries to uncap it. Plus: More coverage of 2016 state ballot measures on finance . How State Elections Could Affect Road Funding The victors in down-ballot races could determine what approaches states take toward fixing up rundown roads and infrastructure in the years to come. Voters Given Opportunities to Limit Money’s Role in U.S. Politics Several states will weigh in on the Citizens United ruling, campaign contribution limits and publicly financed elections in November. How Are States Using Welfare Funding? Often, Not to Help People Work. Without a job, recipients risk losing their benefits. But states aren’t spending much to help them get and stay employed. See how your state’s welfare funding is being spent. ENJOY THIS NEWSLETTER? Governing has 10 others delivering news and commentary on a wide range of topics straight to your inbox. SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE TODAY This email was sent to Unsubscribe″ > | Opt out of all e.Republic email | Privacy Statement © 2016 e.Republic. All rights reserved. 100 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, CA 95630. Phone: 916-932-1300