State takeovers do little to help cash-strapped cities like Flint

Source: Eric Scorsone, Joshua Sapotichne, The Conversation, January 29, 2016

…Thanks to this harmful combination of state aid cuts, lost revenues and economic distress, revenues in Flint’s city budget fell by nearly 50 percent from 2004 through 2014 –the year in which a state-appointed emergency manager approved a plan to disconnect the city’s water supply from the increasingly pricey Detroit Water and Sewerage Department…. Some observers in Flint have called for a critical reevaluation of the state emergency manager policy. Our research suggests that a review is certainly warranted. The purpose of state takeovers is to minimize damage to credit markets and protect public safety, but sometimes state policies actually help cause cities’ financial distress in the first place. Relaxing some of the constraints that states impose on local governments could reduce the need for state takeovers…..