Finance

How Cities and States Can Stop the Incentive Madness

Economist Timothy Bartik explains why the public costs of tax incentives often outweigh the benefits, and describes a model business-incentive package.

A State Braces for Major Transportation Funding Cuts As Ballot Measure Nears Passage

Seattle area officials are vowing to sue over the Washington state initiative, which seeks to limit vehicle registration fees to $30 and impose new restrictions on taxes.

The Imperfect Art of Tracking Local Government Financial Stress

California is the latest state to launch a program to shed light on the financial conditions in localities. Systems like this can have benefits, but also limitations.

Farm Bankruptcies Rise in Over Half of States

Farm debt is also expected to reach its highest ever level in 2019.

Report: Georgia Towns Too Reliant on Fines and Fees as a Revenue Generator

A new study analyzes three towns’ reliance on fines and fees for their annual budget, finding they represent between 14% and 25% of revenues.

Big City Finance Officials See Recession on the Horizon

That’s one of the notable findings in a new survey of over 500 city finance officers.

The States Where Public University Tuition Rates Rose the Most After Big Budget Cuts

Tuition rates at four-year public colleges climbed 37% over the last decade as states have slashed education funding.

When the Savings Don’t Materialize

COMMENTARY | Sometimes, state and local governments don’t end up seeing the results they hoped for. Then what happens?

Federal, State Laws Help Corporations Avoid State Income Taxes

COMMENTARY | A little known federal law that dates back decades—along with subsequent state laws—shields many manufacturers and online retailers from state corporate income tax.

Sin Taxes Not a Reliable Source of Revenue, Report Says

States collected $34 million in alcohol and tobacco taxes in 2017, but a tax increase doesn’t always equate to more money as consumer behavior changes.

Cannabis Banking Challenges Go Beyond Pot

Banks uneasy about pot money aren’t any happier about hemp.

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California Local Governments Gain a Pathway to Establish Public Banks

Cities and counties would be able to create up to 10 public banks where governments could deposit money under a bill the state's governor signed into law this week.

After Amazon’s HQ2 Retreat, New York State Lawmakers Target ‘Corporate Welfare’

After the collapse of Amazon’s HQ2 deal, New York State lawmakers are preparing bills to curb what they call “corporate welfare.” And they’re not alone.

States Should Look Beyond Economic Incentives When Attracting Businesses

COMMENTARY | The executive director of the Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s Office of Economic Development on what state leaders should be thinking about.

Legal Challenge Over $14 Billion in State Debt Is Sidelined For Now

A judge has blocked the Illinois case from proceeding, but the think tank CEO who brought it says he plans to appeal.

Voters in One City to Decide On an Unusual Pension Funding Proposal

A pending ballot proposition in Phoenix calls for imposing strict limits on city spending until funding for the city’s retirement programs reaches a certain threshold.

It Matters Who Sits on Pension Boards and How Big They Are, Study Suggests

Researchers found investment returns are likely affected by the size of the boards, the expertise of members and other factors.

States Kick Off 2019 With Widespread Economic Growth

ANALYSIS | But the pace of states' economic growth is very different.