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Disaggregating State Bankruptcy, Michael A. Francus Jan 2023

Disaggregating State Bankruptcy, Michael A. Francus

Journal Articles

States today face fiscal challenges that they cannot surmount. With trillions in debt and billions in deficits, states are rapidly reaching the point where they cannot satisfy their obligations to pensioners, employees, and residents. This deterioration of state finances has, in turn, revived the debate over whether Congress should expand the Bankruptcy Code to allow states to file for bankruptcy. The debate, though, overlooks how, as a practical matter, bankruptcy is already available to financially distressed states. Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code permits a state’s political subdivisions, public agencies, and instrumentalities to file for bankruptcy if the state authorizes …