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City of San Bernardino Bankruptcy:
Its Consequences & Solutions

March 12, 2013

Larry Sharp and John Husing

Inland Empire Economist John Husing (right) and prominent business leader Larry Sharp examined The City of San Bernardino's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing at the March Randall Lewis Seminar Series. The pair discussed the consequences a San Bernardino bankruptcy could have on the Inland region, and offered possible solutions to the city's budget woes.

The City of San Bernardino filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last August, citing immediate cash flow difficulties arising from plummeting tax revenue, soaring pension costs and the loss of redevelopment funds.

But Husing and Sharp said the city’s economic problems began decades before that when it fell victim to job losses, sagging business fortunes and a precipitous drop in owner-occupied housing. Years of power struggles between city council members, other elected officials and unions also has been a major cause of the city's problems, Husing and Sharp said.

San Bernardino’s decision to halt public employee pension payments is expected to result in a landmark court case testing whether such pensions take precedence to other creditors in a municipal bankruptcy.

Husing is a research economist who has specialized in the study of Southern California’s growing economy since 1964. For decades, he has produced city and county specific economic development strategies for the region’s local government. He is also a leading authority on the impact of the goods movement industry on the region, and in particular its role as a provider of upward economic mobility to blue collar workers.  

Sharp is a prominent Inland Empire business leader who served as president and chief executive officer of Arrowhead Credit Union for more than 27 years. He recently completed a two-year appointment as vice president for university advancement at California State University, San Bernardino, and is the past Chairman of Inland Action.

Seminar Audio (mp3, 177MB)

John Husing's slide presentation (pdf)

Larry Sharp's slide presentation (pdf)

San Bernardino Bankruptcy seminar