Can Power Be Restored in the Electric City? A Case Study of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Like many former industrial cities, Scranton is struggling. A 75-year population decline has eroded its tax base, and city officials have been unable to control costs—a combination that threatens to bankrupt the city. Scranton was classified as a distressed municipality under Pennsylvania Act 47 in 1992, yet nearly 25 years later its problems remain. This study analyzes the economic, fiscal, and political factors that contributed to Scranton’s decline and that have prevented it from recovering. It is a study in economic and fiscal forensics that provides lessons for other municipalities. We conclude by offering several recommendations to improve Scranton’s finances and economic outlook.

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