Providence Case Study




Emmans, Sarah

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Center for State and Local Government Leadership, George Mason University


In March of 2011, just a few months after taking office, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras declared that the city was experiencing a “Category 5” fiscal hurricane. Less than a year later, he announced that the city was on the brink of bankruptcy. Taveras and city officials addressed a two-year, $180 million budget gap through layoffs and attrition, school closures, other service cuts, a modest tax increase, major concessions from the city’s unions, and extracting voluntary payments in lieu of taxes from the major nonprofits in Providence. These actions came against the backdrop of state takeover and, ultimately, the Chapter 9 bankruptcy of tiny Central Falls. The impoverished city of 19,000 was the first rescue attempt under the Rhode Island Fiscal Stability Act of 2010, with two more communities following shortly thereafter, and several more currently teetering on the edge.



Providence, Rhode Island Fiscal Stability Act, Bankruptcy