Bankrupt Cities

40 Percent of Pennsylvanians Live in Financially Distressed Towns

Time to fire your local officeholders


HARRISBURG — More than 5.2 million Pennsylvanians — 41 percent of the state's 12.6 million residents — live in a city, township or borough facing some form of financial distress.

And civic leaders warned on Monday that things are probably going to get worse before they get better.

Ed Pawlowski, mayor of Allentown, said municipal pension costs are eating a hole in his budget.  Costs rose from $6 million last year to more than $18 million this year and will climb to $31 million within a few years.  By 2015, fully 30 percent of Allentown's budget will pay for benefits to retired city workers, police officers and firefighters, he said.