Big Cities Bear Brunt of Cuts

Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Author: Leslie Eaton

09/18/2009 - Four city health clinics in this fast-growing city are on the chopping block. So are some street-maintenance efforts, printed pay stubs and as many as 840 city paychecks – including two for the guys who muck out mounted-police horse stalls.

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From Los Angeles to Philadelphia, many major U.S. cities are facing their worst fiscal crises in years, experts say. And while surveys show that most municipal budgets are under pressure, big cities seem to be facing the most severe problems.

Analysts caution that it can be hard to compare city finances, in part because of wide variations in their responsibilities for things such as schools, health care and utilities.

But Larry Eichel, director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Philadelphia Research Institute, said that when his analysts took a look at the finances of 13 major urban governments earlier this year, "we found budget gaps of at least 5% in every city except Pittsburgh – and they have other financial problems," including a severely underfunded pension plan.

Read the full article Big Cities Bear Brunt of Cuts on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

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