Category: Finance

How City Fiscal Conditions Changed in 2018

This is an excerpt from our new City Fiscal Conditions report. The 2018 City Fiscal Conditions survey indicates that slightly more finance officers than last year are optimistic about the fiscal capacity of their cities. However, the level of optimism is still far below recent years. Tax revenue growth is experiencing a year-over-year slowdown, with

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City Fiscal Conditions – A Five-Year Review

In advance of the release of our annual City Fiscal Conditions report on September 13, this blogpost highlights recent historical trends in municipal finance. The community of Bristol straddles the border between Tennessee and Virginia — one name, two cities, and two starkly different realities. And in today’s economy, Bristol, Tennessee, is thriving while Bristol, Virginia,

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Pensions, Retiree Health Benefits, and Your City’s Bond Rating

This is a guest post by Les Richmond, Vice President and Actuary of Build America Mutual (BAM). Credit ratings are the most visible (and sometimes only) independent assessment of the fiscal status of a city’s government – they have a direct impact on borrowing costs and the affordability of infrastructure investments, and they can also

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Tensions Rise for Local Leaders Trying to Fund Pensions

In light of our just-released State of the Cities 2018 report, this post is the first in a series of blogs that captures what mayors have been talking about most in 2018. According to this May’s State of the Cities 2018 report, intergovernmental relations was a topic of concern for many mayors. Interestingly, mayors across the country

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What City Leaders Should Know about South Dakota v. Wayfair

On Thursday, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court handed down a major victory in South Dakota v. Wayfair, concluding that state and local governments can require remote retailers with no physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales taxes. After years of congressional inaction, the decision brings cities one significant step closer

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States and Local Governments Win Landmark Online Sales Tax Case

On Thursday, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court ruled that states and local governments can require vendors with no physical presence in the state to collect sales tax. According to the court, which ruled in a 5-4 decision, “economic and virtual contacts” are enough to create a “substantial nexus” with the state allowing

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Blockchain in Cities

The first question most people have about blockchain is, of course, “what is blockchain?” Those familiar with the term generally associate it with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies — but it is so much more, and it presents great opportunities for cities. In our newest report, Blockchain in Cities, we explore those possibilities. Public trust in American

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Financing the New Water Infrastructure

This is a guest post by Cynthia Koehler, executive director of the WaterNow Alliance. When it comes to addressing the nation’s water infrastructure crisis, cities and towns are ground zero. They account for 80% or more of spending on drinking water, stormwater and wastewater nationwide, as federal and state support for these vital public services have

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Is Your City Ready to BUILD Like a TIGER This Summer?

This week, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) held its first of several webinars on the rebranded Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants — which have been rebranded as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants (BUILD) grants. These grants have been exceedingly popular with cities in the past to fund innovative and multimodal projects

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Congress Passed the Banking Bill. Here’s What City Leaders Need to Know.

In the wake of the Great Recession, there was broad consensus that Congress and bank regulators needed to take measures to ensure the largest banks in the country, those deemed systemically important financial institutions (or SIFIs), were safeguarding themselves and the role they play in the national economy from dangerous levels of risk. On July

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