Cities Can’t Cut Their Way to Prosperity

“Cities to cut….” will be the prevailing storyline in much of the coverage of city fiscal conditions over the next couple of years.  But, city leaders still have the job of making decisions that position their cities for prosperity in the future according to 50+ local officials who participated in an NLC seminar in late

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There’s No Crying in City Finance

Anyone who has seen the movie A League of Their Own, about the first professional women’s baseball league, remembers the famous quote from Tom Hanks’ character, one of the team managers, when confronted with a crying player in the dugout: “You’re crying? There’s no crying in baseball!” The same can be said about city finance.

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The Housing Market Will Stand on its Own

The U.S. government is moving to cease its deep intervention in the housing markets.  The Treasury Department already has stopped buying up mortgage-related securities and the Federal Reserve will taper off its purchases gradually, ending them by March 31. Then in June, the homebuyer tax credit program ends. As with “cash for clunkers,” the federal

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The Local Role in Housing

Local governments don’t control the interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage nor the regulations that determine who qualifies for a mortgage loan. However, municipal leaders can impact whether or not their community offers a myriad of housing choices to meet the needs of a diverse mix of individuals and families. Using the power to decide land

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The Creative Class revisited

The “Creative Class” has become a mainstay in the lexicon of city speak. Made famous by Richard Florida, the term refers to individuals whose jobs are inherently creative, like musicians and architects, or where creativity is a major function of the job, like doctors. As Florida defines it, the Creative Class generates wealth and lots

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Housing at Square One

Over 4 million homes were lost to foreclosure in the three years from 2007-2009. Before 2006, the worst record of the decade was just under 500,000 foreclosures in 2002. Assistance has come in many forms: An army of counselors work on loan modifications for homeowners who are “underwater” on their mortgage; HUD launches Making Home

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Local leadership continues following Copenhagen Accord

After two-weeks of negotiations and amid rising speculation and anxiety, the COP-15 concluded last week with the Copenhagen Accord, a non-binding treaty to reduce carbon emissions among developed nations while simultaneously providing financial support to developing countries most vulnerable to the devastating impacts of global climate change. Heralded by some, criticized by others, the operative

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Deal or No Deal

Minute by minute updates from the Copenhagen climate summit provide a perspective that is both distorted and unhelpful. Watching the negotiations at COP-15 is like watching the Dow Jones at the beginning of a recession. Daily gyrations mean nothing.  You have to take the long view. Certainly momentum matters. President Obama, and other leaders in

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Thursday at COP-15

(The following is a guest blog from Councilor Henrietta Davis. Councilor Davis is from Cambridge, MA, and is chair of the NLC Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.)   We’re now locked out of the official Bella Center as are most if not all NGOs. Yesterday we were able to press the need for cities to be

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