The Scary State of U.S. Municipal Finances

Analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows that even as other sectors of the economy fight their way back from the Great Recession, municipal finances lag far behind.

"Buffeted by steep drops in state aid, rising pension and health-care costs and sluggish property-tax revenue, many urban centers are struggling even several years after the financial crisis," reports Jeannette Neumann. 

"In Allentown, Pa., weak property values are starving the city of a primary source of cash. Springfield, Ill., has seen pension costs nearly triple in the past decade. Providence, R.I., raised taxes and fees and cut benefits to offset losses in state aid. Fresno, Calif., has so little available cash that officials worry one unforeseen event could reverse nascent improvements."

"While many cities made conservative choices that protected them during tough times, the overall picture shows signs of fragility."

An accompanying interactive graphic depicts the cities struggling the most. 

Full Story: U.S. Cities Grapple With Finances


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!