Public Finance Update

Is it time to dig into rainy day funds?

Despite reserves bulging and revenue receding, state legislators and governors are reluctant to spend savings.

State Medicaid costs poised to surge from pandemic lows

State costs rose by 13% in fiscal 2023 and are expected to increase by an additional 17.2% in fiscal 2024 thanks to the phaseout of enhanced federal aid, provider rate increases and slowing but still elevated enrollment levels.

Measuring and managing risk in the quest for resilience

COMMENTARY | Incidents like the Baltimore bridge collapse should motivate local leaders to think carefully about risk management, prevention and mitigation.

Can the snarky ‘Save Our Yachts’ campaign save Washington’s capital gains tax?

The long-fought-for and hard-won tax has survived its legal challenges. Now it must survive the ballot.

States look to AI for its potential to help with finances

Artificial intelligence holds promise for creating budget-saving efficiencies, aiding in audits and helping with compliance. But the emerging technology also poses challenges that could affect spending.

Connect with state & local government leaders

The brave new world of local government debt management

COMMENTARY | Market volatility, economic uncertainty and factors like climate change are driving heightened risk, creating a tougher issuing environment and a more complex landscape.

Airports are finally back to their pre-pandemic normal, Fitch says

The ratings agency in the last year has upgraded the bond ratings of several major U.S. hubs amid record travel.

How governments are tackling medical debt

Medical debt can stymie communities’ economic mobility as unpaid hospital bills chip away at public dollars. That’s why local governments are looking to forgive residents’ medical debt, which experts say can be especially helpful for rural areas.

Another large bank plans to exit the muni market

It’s the second big bank to drop its municipal bond business this year. But its decision, which many believe is the result of anti-ESG politics, could have a significant impact.

What a major income tax case before the Supreme Court means for states

During oral arguments this week, the court signaled it was wary of issuing an opinion that could upend the tax code.

Helping cities flip money pits into gold mines

An incubator is working with cities to capitalize on their under-used properties by helping them to think like real estate developers.

How California and Florida are trying to stave off the home insurance crisis

Historically, the two states have had very different approaches to insuring against natural disasters. That’s changing.

Is it time to stop worrying about pensions?

Public pension numbers are looking better than they have in over a decade. But some worry it may not last.

Do opportunity zones work?

The jury is still out. But recent research has provided new insights into the tax incentive meant to lure investment to distressed areas.

Should states and localities be worried about the U.S. downgrade?

Or about the possibility of another one amid the budget showdown in Congress? Fitch Ratings’ decision to knock the federal government’s credit rating down a notch last month doesn’t directly affect state and local credit quality. But it’s a warning shot.

As cyberattacks grow, cyber insurance is increasingly out of reach for many municipalities

Experts caution that governments need to recalibrate their cyber risk management approaches by emphasizing employee training and taking a whole-of-state approach.

An emerging ‘greenium’? New research says green bonds cost governments less

Amid an ESG backlash in some states, the finding could lead to more governments seeking an ESG-related label for bonds that will fund socially or environmentally sustainable projects.

After enacting strict abortion laws, many states are turning to tax breaks for expectant parents

Four states have approved new tax credits or deductions that allow taxpayers to claim unborn children. Nearly a dozen are expected to follow. But do these laws actually help expectant mothers?

State retirement plans close savings gap and pad bottom lines

Six years ago and millions of dollars since, Oregon launched the first state-sponsored retirement program for private sector workers. Today, 19 states have launched or plan to launch their own savings programs.

Boosting affordable housing by reclaiming investor-owned properties

As the affordable housing supply gets squeezed, some worry that private equity firms will scoop up more properties.