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Pew Study Finds Philadelphia’s Recovery From Recession About Average

(File photo.  Credit:  Robyn Beck/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(File photo. Credit: Robyn Beck/ AFP/ Getty Images)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study finds Philadelphia in the middle of the pack in terms of how quickly major U.S. cities have recovered from the recession.

The research arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts examined how 30 American cities including Philadelphia managed to get through the recession and where they stand now. Those cities, according to project director Larry Eichel, got hit late and recovered late.

“Big city governments were hit late by the recession primarily due to their reliance on property taxes. There was a time lag there. They were hit late and they’ve recovered slowly, and they’re still suffering from some of the effects of the decline.”

The Pew study says by 2011, two years after the end of the recession, nine of the 30 cities had recovered to ‘prior revenue peaks.’ Below that, Philadelphia was in a group of five cities which were almost by not quite back to their previous revenue peaks by 2011, the last year for which the Pew had data.

Eichel says city governments including Philadelphia weathered the recession by dipping into reserve funds, cutting spending and by raising taxes.

“Philadelphia did some of all of that, and it raised taxes a little more than some other cities did.”

And the Pew concludes that even if most of these cities have revenues reaching pre-recession levels, the road ahead is still rocky.

“Our analysis tells us that there are revenue challenges ahead that are likely to continue for most of these cities.”

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