Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is in some economic trouble:
According to a recent analysis from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, Harrisburg is likely to end the year with a nearly $3.5 million deficit in its $58 million budget, and things are only expected to get worse.
By 2015, the deficit is likely to be $10.4 million, which will eat up about 16 percent of the city’s general fund budget.
“The City of Harrisburg is facing a direct, immediate and grave financial crisis,” the [Department of Community and Economic Development] wrote in a massive 422-page analysis of the government’s perilous condition. “The financial crisis is so severe that the City teeters uncomfortably on the verge of bankruptcy that could be triggered at any moment by parties outside its control.”
So what’s Mayor Linda Thompson doing to fix the problem?
She’s taking a page from Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s book and pandering to her gullible religious base while doing nothing to improve the city’s financial situation at all.
Thompson and a host of other religious leaders are about to embark on a three-day fast and prayer campaign to cure the city’s daunting money woes.
“Things that are above and beyond my control, I need God,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC news affiliate. “I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer.”
She a phone call away from experts at the Wharton School but she’s counting on an invisible friend for guidance?
Harrisburg, you’re fucked.
The deficit problems aren’t simply “above and beyond” anyone’s control. They happened because of poor decision-making by previous Harrisburg leaders.
Jeff Cox at CNBC explains:
Harrisburg’s financial problems are multi-pronged but stem primarily from a disastrous 2003 incinerator project that was supposed to be a revenue driver but instead ended up costing millions in cost overruns and malfunctions. As a result the city still owes $220 million on the bond issue. The debt service on that project alone is $18 million per year, which amounts to nearly one-third of the entire 2011 budget.
… irresponsible public spending combined with crippling fixed costs and an inability to grow have sent Harrisburg’s leaders to their knees in search of spiritual guidance — and perhaps a little extra generosity from the collection plate.
Unless God signed off on that incinerator, it’s a man-made problem that requires tough decisions to be made by the current leadership.
Praying to a god to fix everything is the coward’s way out. Thompson should just admit she’s ineffective and doesn’t know what to do.
She’s the same mayor, by the way, who led her staff in prayer to “forgive” former grants manager Stover Clark because he didn’t accept Jesus as his savior.
This is precisely why you shouldn’t vote for overtly-religious people for public office.