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October 31, 2019
NLC Report on City Fiscal Conditions
On October 28, the National League of Cities (NLC) released its annual report, “City Fiscal Conditions,” at an event in Washington. The report, which analyzed survey results and fiscal data from over 500 cities, finds increasing fiscal uncertainty and trends similar to those that emerged at the start of previous economic downturns.
“For the first time in 34 years, we took a closer look at fiscal trends by region and city size to get a more complete picture of what different communities are facing on the ground,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, the National League of Cities (NLC). “It is clear that communities across the country — and their residents and businesses — are experiencing varying economic realities. My hope is that local leaders continue to use this report to improve communications and outcomes within their own budget processes, and ultimately, to better support the needs of the people they serve.”
The City Fiscal Conditions survey is a national email survey of finance officers in U.S. cities conducted from May to July of each year. Officers were asked to report on local fiscal policies, budget pressures and revenue and expenditure data and to give their assessments of their cities’ fiscal conditions. In addition, budget data for 200 of the largest cities were collected directly from online city budget documents. In total, the 2019 data were drawn from 554 cities and yielded a response rate of 40 percent. The data allow for generalizations about the fiscal conditions in cities. “City fiscal conditions are a reflection of underlying economic factors,” said Christiana McFarland, research director at NLC and report author. “While many local economies are healthy, global economic disruptions are starting to make an impact on fiscal health, particular in the Midwest.”
The report is available for download. The NJLM is a member of the NLC.