Cities Face Hard Choices in Economic Crisis

The National League of Cities is reporting that the vast majority of America's cities are facing "fiscal difficulties," including a loss in tax revenue and the inability to secure credit.
February 9, 2009, 10am PST | Michael Dudley
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"More than eight in ten cities are in financial trouble, up from 64% six months ago, according to a survey released Wednesday. The recession is straining cities' ability to meet their financial needs, according to the National League of Cities. Some 84% of cities reported facing fiscal difficulties, the highest percentage since the group starting doing surveys in 1985.

Things will remain tough in 2009. Some 92% of the cities surveyed expected to have trouble meeting their city needs during this year. To cope, they are implementing hiring freezes and layoffs, delaying capital expenditures and instituting service cuts. Some 69% have instituted hiring freezes or layoffs, while 42% are delaying or canceling infrastructure projects. Another 22% have instituted across the board cuts.

Cities are seeing their tax revenues decline as property values drop, shopping slows and unemployment rises. On top of that, nearly one in two city finance officers report difficulties in access to credit and/or bond financing."

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Published on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 in CNN Money
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