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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

State and Local Government Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Is Bankruptcy The Answer For Troubled Cities And States?, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2013

Is Bankruptcy The Answer For Troubled Cities And States?, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The financial crisis that has afflicted America’s cities and states for the past decade is far from over. Under existing U.S. law, distressed municipalities can file for bankruptcy if their state permits this, as roughly half do. The states themselves do not have a bankruptcy option, however, no matter how bleak their circumstances may be. There have recently been dramatic developments in the handling of municipal distress. Several cities have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 9, which, although adequate for sewer and water districts or a very small town, has conventionally been deemed irrelevant for real cities and ...


States Of Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Apr 2012

States Of Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the past several years, many states’ financial condition has been so precarious that some observers have predicted that one or more might default. As the crisis persisted, a very unlikely word crept into these conversations: bankruptcy. Should Congress provide a bankruptcy option for states, or would bankruptcy be a mistake? The goal of this Article is to carefully vet this question, using all of the theoretical, empirical and historical tools currently available. The discussion is structured as a “case” for bankruptcy, rather than an “on the one hand, on the other hand” assessment. But it seeks to be scrupulously ...


State Bankruptcy From The Ground Up, David A. Skeel Jr. Jul 2011

State Bankruptcy From The Ground Up, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After a brief, high profile debate, proposals to create a new bankruptcy framework for states dropped from sight in Washington in early 2011. With the debate’s initial passions having cooled, at least for a time, we can now consider state bankruptcy, as well as other responses to states’ fiscal crisis, a bit more quietly and carefully. In this Article, I begin by briefly outlining a theoretical and practical case for state bankruptcy. Because I have developed these arguments in much more detail in companion work, I will keep the discussion comparatively brief. My particular concern here is, as the ...