The city of Harrisburg's near-bankruptcy led to Pennsylvania's first and only local government takeover, the ousting of a seven-term mayor and his pending criminal trial - and aggressive, expensive parking enforcement in the state capit

Gene J. Puskar / AP


You know the old adage "Never judge a city by (just) its bond"? Or "Forgive and forget: bonds have histories, too"? No? How about that bumper sticker: "Reductive is as reductive does"?

OK, none of those are real.

S&P Report Shows Good And Bad News For PA Finances

Jul 22, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

After Pennsylvania went two days without a revenue plan last week, Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings put its credit on its “CreditWatch" list.

Inclusion on the list signifies a state in danger of an imminent credit downgrade.

The commonwealth made it off the list this week, after the budget was balanced.

Pennsylvania Treasury

Pittsburgh was recently named one of the top ten cities in the United States for small business activity, according a new study of entrepreneurial activity across the country conducted by the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, Pennsylvania Treasurer Timothy Reese applauds the city’s comeback, but wants to continue providing resources for small businesses looking to expand throughout the Commonwealth.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

City residents and employees can now turn to their smart phones to report suspected incidents of misuse of city tax dollars.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb’s office celebrated a new mobile application Thursday as an extension of a hotline launched in 2013. Lamb said, so far, 50 allegations have been reported.

The city is responsible for employees servicing every neighborhood. Lamb said the app is an opportunity for people in those areas to report what they notice – the things the controller’s office can't always see.


NPR Morning Edition host David Greene is bringing NPR Presents Family Matters to Pittsburgh, a live event that examines various topics affecting American families. So what‘s the focus this time?  Personal finances.

Greene sat down with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to talk more about the event.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Since 2008, the city of Pittsburgh has lost more than $380,000 from checks returned by banks, due to non-sufficient funds or other problems.

Controller Michael Lamb announced the losses at a press conference Wednesday, saying he had just issued recommendations to the Department of Finance about how to fix the problem.

Chief among his recommendations: compile a list of all the points of entry for payments by check coming into the city.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There’s good news and bad news.

That was the message from city of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb Wednesday, as his office released its 2013 Popular Annual Financial Report. Lamb called the report the “layman’s version” of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released early this year.

The good news, said Lamb, is that the difference between the city’s liabilities and its assets shrunk by $4.1 million in 2013, to $423.8 million. In 2007, the gap was close to $600 million.

401(K) 2013 / Flickr

Many college students have very little to no experience in financial planning, which is why University of Pittsburgh Professor of Finance, Jay Sukits, created an event to help students become financially literate.

Gene Natali, Senior Vice President at CS McKee and co-author of The Missing Semester is speaking at the event, Money 101-Taking Control, dedicated to teaching high school and college students about managing their finances.

Pittsburgh and Detroit: A Tale of Two Cities

Aug 1, 2013
Dave Rezendes/Flickr

Since the beginning of the great recession, Pittsburgh has often been touted as a shining symbol of economic recovery in the rust belt, while Detroit has become the poster-child of nearly apocalyptic economic strife. So what has allowed the Steel City to thrive while the Motor City has stalled? According to Antony Davies, an Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University, the answer lies in the two city’s differing approaches to the collapse of their largest industries.

He notes that while Pittsburgh weathered the painful collapse of the steel industry without support, “when Detroit fell on hard times, it turned to the federal government.”