13 March 2014

Municipal Bankruptcy: Live and In-Person

If anyone who reads this will be in the vicinity of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday, April 14, I can heartily recommend a symposium hosted by the Widener Law Journal on "Solving the Problem of Municipal Financial Distress." Several bankruptcy judges and scholars will be speaking, including me. Continuing legal education credits will be available so it's not only for academic types. Go here for registration information.

I'm planning to speak on my latest research addressing the rights of taxpayers in Chapter 9. One might think that the folks who will ultimately foot the bill would have a formal place at the table when it comes to negotiating a municipal plan of adjustment. One might even think taxpayers have a vote on the plan. But one would be wrong. Taxpayers have no statutorily-recognized role nor do they vote on the plan. I expect to argue that bankruptcy courts should (as they often do) appoint a taxpayer committee to represent the interests of those who will be paying more (and getting less) long after their elected representatives are out of office.

Just as importantly, even though the court cannot give taxpayers a vote, it should give special attention to their interests through the prism of "feasibility." The Bankruptcy Code mandates a finding of feasibility when a plan is confirmed. Courts in Chapter 11 reorganizations generally give this requirement short shrift but should, I argue, give feasibility a much higher profile when it comes to Chapter 9 adjustments.

On the other hand, if I don't get cracking I might talk about my article, Municipal Bankruptcy: When Doing Less Is Doing Best, that will come out later this spring in the American Bankruptcy Law Journal. (You can download an early draft here.)

1 comment:

  1. Happy to see that you're publishing your "Doing Less is Doing Best" article in the ABLJ. I look forward to welcoming you to Harrisburg next month!