Report: Most big cities were in bad fiscal shape before the pandemic. Expect it to get worse



In the group’s fifth annual report card on the nation’s 75 biggest cities, Irvine retains its title as the fiscally healthiest city in America — even while the vast majority of its brethren, both in California and across the nation, sink more deeply in debt thanks to promises they’ve made for pensions and retiree health care that are far more expensive than they ever expected.

Joining Irvine in the black was Stockton — testament to the restorative power of municipal bankruptcy — and the city of Fresno.

In the red in California, from least-in-debt to most-in-debt, were Long Beach, Chula Vista, Bakersfield, Riverside, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Ana, Anaheim, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

All told, total debt for the 75 most populous cities exceeded $333.5 billion at the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Most of that was pension debt — $180.1 billion — while the rest was for retiree health benefits, at $160.1 billion.

Author(s): Teri Sforza

Publication Date: 1 Feb 2022

Publication Site: Orange County Register