In Syracuse, the level of poverty is growing and residents are struggling to pay off their debt. The State of New York itself, along with other states around the country, may be forced to step in to help solve the issue.
If the states are asked to jump in, they may ask for something in return. State officials are likely to demand that they have more control over local decisions in exchange for the financial help they are forced to offer.
Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at a conservative-leaning think tank, said in his study “Rust Belt cities and their burden of legacy costs” that state officials need to create a strategy to help and fix any cities before anything big happens.
The decline of manufacturing has put Rust Belt cities in the same situation with the same challenges. Not only does a decline in manufacturing hurt the economy, but it also hurt the job market. For instance, two out of three welding jobs are considered part of this declining manufacturing industry.
Eide says that the high debt, increasing poverty, and shrinking populations are enough to put any city on the brink of bankruptcy. This is regardless of the efforts made by cities in the past to revitalize.
“It would be extremely optimistic to think that any of these cities are going to supercharge their economic growth over the near term,” Eide said.
According to the Census Bureau, Syracuse’s poverty rate in 2016 was ranked as the thirteenth worst in the United States. Data from the Census Bureau suggests that the city was left behind in the economic recovery following the Great Recession. About 47% of children lived in poverty, which was up from 2015.
Syracuse, Youngstown, Ohio, and Hartford, Connecticut are all struggling with the same issue. They each have heavy debts to municipal bondholders. Syracuse’s mayor Stephanie Miner has called for more state aid, but it’s unlikely that the state with concede without getting anything in return.
It’s been suggested that Government consolidation may help the problem. However, using that as a money-saving opportunity rarely works. Eide says that even when municipal leaders decide that it’s okay to merge governments, they rarely want to cut pay levels or the workforce.
Based on Census Bureau data, Eide said in his report that Syracuse is one of four cities that has a high level of bonding for large economic development projects. There were no other details provided.