If the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal has a good side for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, it has taken the spotlight off the city's and school's march toward bankruptcy. It could be a problem that could end up being as, or more, vexing than whatever emergency steps he's trying to use to tamp down the police scandal.
We get a reminder that a municipal bankruptcy is possible from the latest financial difficulties experienced by Atlantic City. As Bloomberg Business reports:
After almost five years of piecemeal efforts to fix Atlantic City, New Jersey’s distressed seaside resort faces more drastic measures: the end of its casino monopoly and a state takeover or bankruptcy filing.... Senate President Steve Sweeney, the highest-ranking Democratic legislator, said the city should declare bankruptcy if the takeover isn’t approved quickly.,,,
“This is a very clear statement to Atlantic City: Get your act together, knock off the B.S. and start addressing what you need to address,” Sweeney told reporters Tuesday at the Statehouse in Trenton. “The state is not going to come in and bail you out any more. You need to fix this.”
Well, now. Apparently, Atlantic City was following Emanuel's script, expecting a state bail-out, in cash and legislative solutions. How many times does Emanuel have to be reminded: The state of Illinois itself is heading for bankruptcy (if a state can go bankrupt; it would be a first) and has no money to provide the kinds of massive bailout that Emanuel is seeking.
Since 1980, Bloomberg reported. 54 U.S. cities, towns and counties have sought court protection from creditors. Governing magazine has a different take: Since 2010, there have been 51 municipal bankruptcy filings. Counting only general purpose municipalities (i.e. cities and villages), nine have filed for bankruptcy, of which three were dismissed by bankruptcy courts. Those that went into bankruptcy are Hillview, Ky.; Detroit, Mich.; San Bernardino, Calif.; Stockton, Calif.; Jefferson County, Ala.;, and Central Falls, R.I.
It can happen to Chicago, and on its present course, it will happen. Could an impending financial disaster end up being the shove that'll send Emanuel over the cliff?
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