Detroit recently became the largest U.S. city to ever claim bankruptcy. It’s a scary thought to think that a large city where people live and depend on its resources can no longer support itself. Detroit collapsed because it fell into a debt it could not recover from; this led to job loss and eventually a decrease in the population which furthers the debt, creating a cycle of self-destruction that has led to the ultimate demise of the municipality. The city has become a nightmare to live in, with streetlights out of order and an average of about an hour wait for police response it’s not a surprise that people are choosing to move elsewhere.
The scary question in most peoples’ minds is whether Detroit will evoke change in other cities around the nation or whether it will serve as the first of many large cities to fall back on bankruptcy in this time of economic trouble. Cities throughout New York such as Rochester, Syracuse and Utica have their own reasons for concern. Job loss and high taxes throughout the state have forced people to move elsewhere in the United States which has created a loss of population in New York and has raised the debt. I can only hope that these cities will bounce back and make changes to aid in recovery so that we can avoid the same fate as Detroit.
I have been researching this issue over the past week and I have found that although the municipalities throughout upstate New York are not facing the same extremes that Detroit is now, they are still in trouble. Unfunded pensions are draining state money, high taxes are forcing citizens to move elsewhere and unemployment rates are still extremely high. The municipalities are being overrun by problems they do not have the means to control.
Part of my research into this issue has required me to look into solutions for this looming problem and it is relatively clear to me: the “Let NY Work” agenda maps out how we can improve the economic situation in upstate cities. If state lawmakers would follow the agenda, progress could be made to help each municipality. The agenda (http://www.unshackleupstate.com/let-ny-work) will make New York more affordable so that municipalities can allocate resources where they are needed rather than where the state directs them. Although the municipalities of New York are not quite in the same, depressed situation as Detroit, its current situation should make every New Yorker think of what changes can be made now so that we can avoid the same fate in the future.