While particulars vary, distressed Pennsylvania communities Harrisburg, Scranton and Altoona struggle for solutions amid what their leaders describe as common concerns of state indifference -- and in some cases hindrance -- amid rising pension obligations and potentially crippling arbitration awards.

“It’s not just those three cities. It’s every single municipality,” said Harrisburg city Controller Dan Miller, citing feedback from a recent Pennsylvania League of Cities and Towns conference in Pittsburgh. “The legislature just doesn’t want to do anything for the urban areas. We can’t expand revenue and we can’t control costs. We have the unions and arbitration laws working against us, so we’re stuck in this tight squeeze.”

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