Local Government Fiscal Stress, Since the Great Recession
Local government services are key to economic growth and quality of life. Since the Great Recession in 2008, however, state governments have shifted more service responsibilities to localities, and with increasing demand for services, aging infrastructure, and flat property tax revenues, local governments are facing serious fiscal and economic stress.
Mildred E. Warner, City and Regional Planning, says that how local governments respond to these pressures has profound implications for the wellbeing and resilience of local communities. Warner and her team of collaborators are working to create the first 50-state assessment of local governments’ responses to the Great Recession and the role of state policy on local government fiscal stress. To make these assessments, she and her team are collecting data on county and municipal service provision, delivery, and revenue strategies after the Great Recession.
The team, including researchers at Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin, Madison, is collaborating with the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, and the International City/County Management Association to conduct the surveys. The research will contribute to theory and practical understanding of how local governments maintain infrastructure and service delivery while meeting the challenges of fiscal stress. Furthermore, the project will develop new knowledge about the impact of state policy on local governments. Findings will promote innovation to improve the wellbeing and resilience of people and rural and urban communities.