Within the next three months, Stockton could become the nation’s largest city to file for protection from creditors under U.S. bankruptcy code. Using a new California law, the City Council is attempting to stall the process by entering mediation with creditors, including public employee unions. The Central Valley port city of 300,000 has suspended several bond payments and will not cash out vacation or sick time for employees who leave.
Before the recession, the city’s officials were spending large amounts of money on a new sports arena, a theatre complex, a marina and much more with the intention of creating a more cultured city. There is speculation that this could be one of the many reasons the city has been hit so hard by the recession. Residents believe the problem is the inflated salaries of city officials and their generous retirement packages. Others speculate that it is a result of the city’s dedication to employee unions. No matter the reason, Stockton’s economy has taken a severe hit. Crime has also increased in the area due to lack of funds for public employees such as police and firefighters.
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