City Fiscal Conditions in 2013

Source: Michael A. Pagano & Christiana McFarland, National League of Cities (NLC), Research Brief on America’s Cities, October 2013

The nation’s city finance officers report that the fiscal condition of cities in 2013 is improving, although they are continuing to confront the prolonged effects of the economic downturn. Recovering local and regional economies experiencing slowly improving housing markets and increased consumer spending are strengthening local tax bases and economic outlooks. However, high levels of unemployment, uncertainty about federal and state actions, and long-term pension and health benefit obligations continue to constrain the fiscal outlook for many cities. Cities operate under an annual balanced-budget requirement, which requires that they actively consider adjustments to their fiscal powers – both revenues and expenditures – over the course of the fiscal year…