Breakingviews: Going broke can be true emergency for U.S. cities
NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Going broke can be a true state of emergency for American cities. It’s not a riot or flood, but it’s close enough to justify temporarily trimming workers’ pay, says one Nevada town. Though labor unions disagree, the argument is legally plausible and could save essential services. With more cities tumbling into insolvency, public officials need fresh ways to tighten belts.
It’s an increasingly common story. Tax receipts from the housing boom swelled North Las Vegas’ coffers, igniting lavish spending on recreation centers, pay raises and a new city hall. Along came the economic bust – and a $31 million budget deficit.
Police and firefighter unions blame public officials for squandering dollars. City bosses point to worker salaries that account for 80 percent of municipal expenditures. Either way, it’s a disaster….”