New Castle News

Closer Look

July 27, 2013

John K. Manna: New Castle, other cities face problems like Detroit

NEW CASTLE — While Detroit may be the largest city to file for bankruptcy protection, its financial problems are not unique.

City officials helped create Detroit’s financial mess over the years, but the exodus of businesses and residents from the city over the last 60 years also contributed. And both, to some extent, are interrelated.

That may be an oversimplification, but that explains the situation in a nutshell.

In signing off on the bankruptcy filing, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said, “The fiscal realities confronting Detroit have been ignored for too long. I'm making this tough decision so the people of Detroit will have the basic services they deserve and so we can start to put Detroit on a solid financial footing that will allow it to grow and prosper in the future.”

He added, “This decision comes in the wake of 60 years of decline for the city, a period in which reality was often ignored.”

Daniel Howes, a columnist for The Detroit News, wrote that the bankruptcy filing  culminates “a toxic combination of chronic mismanagement, political dysfunction and corruption piled on top of decades of de-industrialization and population flight that have gutted the city’s tax base and its ability to provide services.”

Sound familiar?

Corruption is too strong of a word to use in the city of New Castle’s case, but all of the other elements existed before the city entered Act 47. They may have not been present on a consistent basis, but they contributed to the city’s financial dilemma.

New Castle, though, is not unique in Pennsylvania. Most of the state’s cities have experienced population flight as well as a loss of industries and manufacturers. The two have gone hand in hand to cause shrinking tax bases, making it difficult for some cities to continue providing essential services.

With so many cities facing the same dilemma — particularly with their mounting pension problems — it’s safe to say that the situation wasn’t caused entirely by the ineptness of local officials.

There is no easy solution, but the state Legislature and governor — any governor — need to seek one. After all, this does have an effect on the state’s economy, which so many legislators say they care about.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger enters guilty plea in federal court

    The former executive director of the local intermediate unit has entered a guilty plea in federal court.


    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lottery.jpg Lottery officials: Seniors should get smaller payout

    State lottery officials say less means more for seniors. The lottery took in $3.8 billion in sales last year and will give more than $1 billion of it — or 28.5 percent — to programs for senior citizens.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage