Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, September 28, 2021

droppedLast week provided a closing footnote to the infamous fiscal crisis that gripped New York City in 1975 (which inspired the oft-imitated New York Daily News headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead”): The Municipal Assistance Corporation bond-issuing agency that raised the $10-billion Big Apple bailout wrapped up its business 33 years later, and subsequently voted itself out of existence.

It managed to leave behind a lasting legacy, and in a good way:

Until MAC, the city wasn’t required to balance its budget, or keep its books using generally accepted accounting principles, or prepare five-year spending plans. Now it does - and it submits its budgets to a separate state body, the Financial Control Board.

“The city probably has a better budget process than any other city or state in the country,” Nancy Henze, MAC’s executive director, said during a break in the meeting. “The state’s not in half as good shape as the city.”

I wonder how many people still associate the mid-’70s municipal mess with modern New York. I retain an impression of it, but not in a direct way — I was barely out of diapers when it was all coming down. But the idea of a basketcase of an unmanagable city stuck with me, mainly because jokes about it were featured prominently in pop culture, especially TV sitcoms. That, and the city’s general social decline experienced during the ’80s, forged an unshakable image of New York in my mind that, despite what’s now around me, persists.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/28/2008 10:11:53 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin', Politics
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