Finance

Inflation Is Cutting Into States’ Big Infrastructure Windfall

The costs of road and bridge projects have increased by as much as 40%.

Many Applications for $1B Economic Development Program Had a Missing Element

New research finds a notable gap in proposals from the 60 finalists for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

Federal Watchdog Calls for National Online Sales Tax Standards

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have shown interest in the idea. But any plan along these lines is sure to draw skepticism from states and localities worried about ceding their power over tax policy.

A Plan to Use City Property for Affordable Housing

Boston is on track to open up dozens of parcels to developers early next year, while also offering residents direct aid to help with home-purchasing costs.

This Midwestern City Plans to Wipe Out Residents’ Medical Debt

The new program follows a similar one launched in Cook County, Illinois earlier this year.

Borrowing to Backfill Public Pensions Makes a Comeback

Low interest rates made the potentially risky and often criticized practice more attractive. But then the stock market plummeted, complicating the outlook for some places that took on the debt.

Voters in One State Approve a Tax on Millionaires

And in another they eliminated tax breaks for higher earners. But national trends with ballot initiatives to tax the wealthy are mixed overall this year and hard to interpret.

High Stakes for Transportation in Governors Races

Incoming governors will have big decisions to make about roads and transit and how projects are paid for.

Should Homeowners or Cities Maintain Sidewalks?

Denver voters are set to weigh in on the question in next week’s election, while also deciding on a tax that could help pay for sidewalk upgrades.

2 Practical Approaches to More Equitable Government Spending

It's been over two years since policy-makers began to redouble equity efforts with state and local budgets and programs. Here's a look at where things stand with some of that work.

A Fight Over How Tax Hikes are Passed at the Ballot Box

A proposal before Arizona voters would change the threshold for approving tax initiatives from a simple majority to 60%. Is it a check on outside groups funding tax-and-spend measures? Or a hit to citizens' power to approve new funding for their priorities?

A City Asks Residents to Vote on Which Infrastructure Projects to Fund

Denver is turning to “participatory budgeting” to decide how it will use a small slice of its budget for public works projects.

The States That Still Owe Billions in Federal Unemployment Loans

They took on the debt after Covid hit. If they don’t repay it soon, it will mean tax hikes for businesses. Republicans are knocking Democratic governors who’ve let the balances linger.

How Treasurers Are Using Tech to Return Lost Funds to Residents

COMMENTARY | Technology is making it faster, easier and simpler for states to return unclaimed property.

What the Housing Market Slowdown Will Mean for Property Taxes

Red hot home sales during the pandemic have cooled and that could have consequences for one of the main revenues local governments rely on. But the outlook varies place to place.

Cities and States Bristle Over Proposal to Change How They Report on Finances

Congress is weighing a plan that calls for overhauling how state and local government financial data is made public, stirring worries about new costs for software and staff. But supporters of the revamp say it’s long overdue.

Treasury Shuts Down Helpline for States and Localities

Due to a funding crunch left unaddressed by Congress, the department is phasing out phone and email services to field questions about billions in pandemic aid.

How the Costs of Disasters like Hurricane Ian are Calculated – and Why it Takes so Long to Add Them Up

COMMENTARY | A recovery expert explains what these estimates include and what could be done to make disasters less costly.

As Cities Recover, Financial Worries Loom

An annual National League of Cities’ survey finds optimism among city finance officials, but also wariness about risks like inflation and the possibility of a recession.

Financial Health Dashboard Offers Tips for Closing Wealth Gaps

A new online tool from the Urban Institute allows leaders to assess a community’s financial benchmarks and maps them to policies to address racial inequity.