Author: Christiana McFarland

Why a Regional Bid May Land HQ2

Proposals to capture one of the most coveted economic development deals in history — Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2 — are due. While some cities (here and here) have not been swayed to join the hunt, there are no doubt hundreds of submissions, and nearly the same amount of speculation about which one of these

Continue reading

Is Fiscal Growth Slowing in Cities?

When the Great Recession hit in America, city governments felt the effects acutely. Growth in municipal budgets contracted noticeably as hiring freezes, service changes, and even bankruptcies rolled across the country. Now, that continuous fiscal growth may be slowing, according to a new report. NLC’s 2017 City Fiscal Conditions, a survey of city finance officers, reveals

Continue reading

The Untold Story of Mid-Sized Economies

The National League of Cities’ latest report, Local Economic Conditions: The Untold Story of the Varied Middle, finds that 84 percent of cities say their local economies have improved since 2016. The new analysis reveals a dynamic economic landscape that has given rise to five distinct types of local economies: a highly rural cluster; a

Continue reading

The Nuanced New World of Economic Development Incentives

Beyond the black-and-white debates of the past, local governments are taking strengths, weaknesses and social equity into account. This post was originally published in Governing. With high-profile local-government economic development deals making headlines and the availability of new transparency data on public giveaways, the tax-incentive debate is in the spotlight in a serious way. The

Continue reading

Cities Are Fighting to Close the Pay Gap – But States Are Standing in the Way

NLC Research Director Christy McFarland discusses how state preemption of local authority may be adding to the gender wage gap. The full version of this post can be found on Route Fifty. Tuesday – dubbed Equal Pay Day – symbolizes roughly how many days into the new year that women must work to earn what men

Continue reading

Making Informed Choices About Public Sector Pension Plans

NLC’s latest Municipal Action Guide includes a historical look at public sector pension plans, an overview of approaches to pension reforms, and a worksheet to help local officials navigate decision-making regarding their city’s pension plan. Pensions play a critical role in the ability of local governments to attract and retain the workforce needed to meet

Continue reading

When Cities and States Clash, Women and Families Suffer

Despite ongoing efforts to create more inclusive, gender-equal workplaces, many states currently prevent cities from passing laws mandating employers provide paid leave. This post was co-authored by Christiana McFarland and Brooks Rainwater. Today, people around the globe are donning red, attending marches, and participating in walkouts in solidarity for International Women’s Day and “A Day

Continue reading