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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scranton gone Wilkes-Barre circa 2003

When I finished with this Times-Tribune story--Scranton running out of cash, running up deficit--much earlier today, my mind immediately raced back to a online spat I once had with a former, short-lived Scranton area blogger.

His angle was that Wilkes-Barre was hopeless, while Scranton had a shiny new mall and plenty of projects on the-then drawing boards. My angle was that Wilkes-Barre (under the-then new mayor, Tom Leighton) had embraced fiscal sanity where none existed before he took office, and that Scranton's finances even back then were a literal basket case and would only flat-line over time.

It took a little while, but score one for Markie.

Interestingly enough, Scranton's current financial woes almost exactly parallel Wilkes-Barre's financial difficulties from the not-so recent past. See, it's fairly easy to follow: When you need a T.A.N. (tax anticipation note) to retire the previous unpaid T.A.N. in any given fiscal year, you are already reeling well out of control.

And as a general rule, if your municipality of choice needs more than one such loan in any fiscal year, you might want to consider pulling up stakes. Head up to Bradford County. The word is that property values in that area are low, and going lower every day.

And you might want to extrapolate this upon the current brouhaha in Washington. One side says we need to cut back, but the other side says cutting back will hurt, so over their dead bodies!

And wasn't that exactly the argument between Scranton's executive and legislative branches during the last budget smackdown?

Ah, whatever. Like I could really give a flying funk about Scranton.

Sadly, stupidly, down here in Wilkes-Barre, the residents either do not or deliberately will not appreciate what financial solvency is all about. Financial solvency, if I may, that first began to take shape back in January of 2004.

Hey, it is what it is. Mayor Tom Leighton righted our heavily-listing ship. Deal with it.


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