Author: Christiana McFarland

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

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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

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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

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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

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3 Steps Cities Can Take to Anchor Economic Partnerships

With a new approach, anchor institutions have the ability to accelerate economic development priorities and reshape their hometowns for the better. This is a guest post by Neil Kleiman. Anchor institutions — colleges, universities and hospitals — are predominant local economic actors, often the largest employers within a city. These institutions provide a knowledge foundation

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New Evidence That the Tax Exemption Matters

Tax-exempt municipal bonds provide support for infrastructure projects such as the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, pictured above. (photo: Will Damon) Walking down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston this summer, it was hard to imagine more than six feet of snow in this very place not more than a few months prior. Although

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Can Cities Beat the Fiscal Odds?

Beating the fiscal odds means cities are able to not only balance budgets, but continue to pioneer innovative solutions to the country’s most intractable challenges and lay the foundations for fiscal and economic growth. (Getty Images) As the economy continues to show hopeful yet nascent signs of recovery, cities remain cautious about their fiscal condition. They

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