NEXT DATE:   |  6:30 p.m.  |  
category: Academic Programs, Research Seminars, Adult Programs  |  location: Library, Copeland Room

Between the 1870s and the 1930s New York City underwent a fiscal crisis approximately every twenty years. This paper examines the causes of and responses to the periodic fiscal crisis of late 19th and early 20th century New York. It argues that Gotham’s public finance policies on behalf of private real estate speculation - underassessing utility franchises, subsidizing speculative real estate development, and accruing debt for questionable public improvements – were major factors behind these crises. It examines how reformers of the period used these crises as an opportunity to present alternate fiscal policies that promised to both enhance state revenue and transform the local political economy. Ultimately, it argues that early 20th century Progressives succeeded in developing a new system of municipal revenue and expenditure that, while more stable than its predecessor, maintained the power of the private real estate and banking sectors within the city.   

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Attendees are encouraged to read Wortel-London's paper, "Private Growth, Public Costs: Municipal Finance and Reform in New York City, 1877-1913," which may be obtained by contacting Carol Lockman at

Free, reply requested, call (302) 658-2400, ext. 243, or email Carol Lockman at

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