Surveying the Fiscal Nightmare for Cities and States

Governing takes a tour through the fiscal impacts of a suddenly cratered economy and an ongoing public health crisis.

2 minute read

June 3, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Missouri

Jordi Es / Shutterstock

Alan Greenblat provides ranging analysis of the "financial black hole" facing cities and states as a result of the pandemic. This assessment is defined by uncertainty. "State and local officials are well aware that they face the most dire fiscal circumstances in decades," writes Greenblat. "They still don't know just how bad it will be."

According to Greenblat, who writes at the end of May, about 1 million state and local jobs have been lost. "Public employment at those levels has already dropped lower than at any point during the Great Recession," according to Greenblat.

Despite the uncertainty of how far revenues will drop, and how deep cities and states will have to cut as a result, Greenblat does point out some key differences between the current downturn and previous downturns, namely that furloughs and layoffs have impacted public safety workers. Christiana McFarland, research director for the National League of Cities (NLC), is quoted in the article saying that job cuts for police, fire, and health care workers are a canary in the coal mine. 

The article includes specific information on the kinds of furloughs being implemented in parts of the country, while also explaining the politics of recovery at the federal level. Just as uncertain as the depths of the fiscal crisis is the likelihood that the federal government will provide additional funding to support local and state governments.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in Governing

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Sunset view of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skyline.

Minneapolis as a Model for Housing Affordability

Through a combination of policies, the city has managed to limit the severity of the nationwide housing crisis.

50 minutes ago - Brown Political Review

Row of yellow Pacers Bikeshare bikes at station in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indy Bikeshare System Turns 10, Expands to E-Bikes

Pacers Bikeshare riders logged over 700,000 rides since the system launched in 2014.

1 hour ago - Indy Today

Aeriel view of white sheep grazing on green grass between rows of solar panels.

Coming Soon to Ohio: The Largest Agrivoltaic Farm in the US

The ambitious 6,000-acre project will combine an 800-watt solar farm with crop and livestock production.

2 hours ago - Columbus Dispatch

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.