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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

State and Local Government Law

Reorganization

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Reflections On Two Years Of P.R.O.M.E.S.A., David A. Skeel Jr. Jun 2018

Reflections On Two Years Of P.R.O.M.E.S.A., David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay draws both on my scholarly and on my personal experience as a member of Puerto Rico’s oversight board to assess the first two years of the Board’s existence. I begin in a scholarly mode, by exploring the question of where P.R.O.M.E.S.A., the legislation that created the Board, came from. P.R.O.M.E.S.A.’s core provisions are, I will argue, the product of two historical patterns that have emerged in responses to the financial distress of public entities in the United States. The first dates back to ...


A Two-Step Plan For Puerto Rico, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Mar 2016

A Two-Step Plan For Puerto Rico, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Few still believe that Puerto Rico is capable of meeting all of its financial obligations and continuing to provide basic services. The territory is already in default, and conditions are rapidly deteriorating. Is there a way forward? We think there is. In this short article, we outline a two-part plan for correcting Puerto Rico’s most urgent fiscal and financial problems.

The first step is to create an independent financial control board that has authority over Puerto Rico’s budgets and related issues. Notwithstanding concerns that an externally imposed financial control board (FCB) may interfere with the decision making processes ...


Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2016

Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent proceedings involving large municipalities such as Detroit, Stockton, and Vallejo illustrate both the utility and the limitations of using the Bankruptcy Code to adjust municipal debt. In this article, we contend that, to truly resolve the distress of a substantial city, municipal bankruptcy needs to do more than simply provide immediate debt relief. Debt adjustment alone does nothing to remedy the fragmented decision-making and incentives for expanding municipal budgets that underlie municipal distress. Unless bankruptcy also addresses governance dysfunction, the city may slide right back into financial crisis. Governance restructuring has long been an essential element of corporate bankruptcy ...


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 ...