Power without accountability is tyranny. Power without elected transfer is a coup. Financial crises, created by government itself, is being used to justify bloodless coups and install figureheads who reign in tyranny, in order to “fix” municipal books. Blame is shifted to public workers for overburdens of municipal sweetheart schemes in capital projects to special friends. At the center of these takeovers, scatter-shoted around the country, are unmatched power grabs, micro-targeted balance sheet legislation; ideology and assets. And the blindness of anger and fear, citizens are failing to see who really benefits as assets are being sold off and privatized, and who’s hurt when pensions, protections, and services are cut.
Across the country, 13 cities declared bankruptcy last year, including Jefferson County, AL and Harrisburg, PA, and underwent court-supervised reorganization, with the authority of their elected boards and councils intact. But the pathway to bankruptcy often involved Republican elected officials. Jefferson County’s collapse was precipitated by a Republican AL state legislator who refused to approve a tax increase that would have staved off the county’s default.
New defaults are bypassing courts. New legislation in several states hands the governor sole power to appoint a receiver with absolute power. One guy in charge is small government but not the way written in the Constitution. Balance sheet emergencies don’t justify these anti-democratic, draconian ends.