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City Debt Crisis Eclipses Elections in PA Capital

Promo to upcoming series on Harrisburg’s debt crisis.

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Story Transcript

JESSE FREESTON, PRODUCER, TRNN: We’re in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, a city of 47,000 people coming to terms with massive debts owed to Wall Street.

TANYA FOSTER, CBS NEWS: Harrisburg’s debt crisis is making national news again.

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FOSTER: —of the financial crisis in Harrisburg.

(VOICEOVERS): Is Harrisburg close to just going belly up, literally bankrupt?

Our debt could approach $1 billion to $1.2 billion.

We will run out of money. And what that means, there will—payroll will not be met.

Right now we’re at the brink, and we have to do something.

FREESTON: In order to pay back the debt, a small number of unpopular options are being put forward.

(VOICEOVERS): I don’t know another mayor that has proposed to close down 25 percent of their fire protection. There’s money to be made off other people’s misery, and this is a classic example.

We may all have to bite the bullet.

I guess we’re mostly looking for a global solution with shared pain.

I heard the one young man say that we all have to bite the bullet. But not all of us have teeth. We cannot bite the bullet.

EUGENIA G. SMITH, HARRISBURG CITY COUNCIL: There’s a big fear that taxes will be raised and people will not be able to, you know, afford to live in the city any longer.

FREESTON: All this comes at a time where many outside Harrisburg are watching the Pennsylvania midterms to see who will go to Washington.

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FREESTON: But in central Pennsylvania, people are worried about more pressing needs.

WGAL NEWSCAST (VOICEOVER): A school district without kindergarten and sports could be a reality for Harrisburg.

The city where there’s the highest per capita debt, one of the worst school districts in the country, highest crime rate in the state.

FREESTON: So what should people expect from their city? Be sure to join us for our series of videos from Harrisburg exploring this poster child for the US’s economic meltdown.

End of Transcript

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