After Congress left cities to fend for themselves, four new cases — possibly the first to be contracted by mosquitoes in the U.S. — suggest how difficult it is for them to combat the virus on their own.
From the abstract:
While the relationship between arts businesses and redevelopment has been studied extensively in world-class cities, it remains understudied in weaker market cities. With tight municipal budgets, shrinking cities cannot afford to not understand both the benefits of the arts for downtown redevelopment and the impact of redevelopment on the arts. Using block-level data for a U.S. shrinking city’s downtown (St. Louis), this study finds that the arts have neither anchored redevelopment nor been driven out of the downtown by redevelopment. The latter finding signals an opportunity for shrinking cities to harness the benefits of the arts in downtown redevelopment.
Once considered the fastest-shrinking city in America, Youngstown, Ohio, decided it would stop trying return to its former glory. Here’s what happened.
Source: Sean McElwee, Dēmos, June 2016
– The donor class doesn’t represent the diversity of Washington D.C.’s population. While 37 percent of D.C.’s population is white, 62 percent of mayoral donors and 67 percent of City Council donors are white.
– The rich are disproportionately represented in the donor class. Only a quarter of D.C.’s adult population makes more than $100,000, but 59 percent of council donors and 61 percent of mayoral donors do.
– The pool of donors who make small donations is more representative than the pool of those who make large donations. Women make up about half of those giving less than $50 to mayoral and council races, but only 31 percent of those giving more than $1,000. People of color make up 47 percent of mayoral donors giving less than $25, but 31 percent of those giving more than $1,000.
– The small donor pool contains more income diversity as well. Those making $100,000 or more comprise 44 percent of donors giving $25 or less to mayoral candidates, but 72 percent of those giving $1,000 or more.
– Mayoral candidates relied heavily on big donors, raising less than 7 percent of their total funds from donors giving less than $100, and 67 percent from donors giving more than $1,000.
– A system of public financing would increase the diversity of D.C.’s donor class, leading to more responsive policymaking.
A new study charts the business cycles of the nation’s largest metros across three periods of economic decline.
Are mayors’ open-door policies for illegal immigrants hurting their efforts to raise wages?
Source: Michael Overton, The American Review of Public Administration,Published online before print June 22, 2016
From the abstract:
Competition among local governments for business investment and residents is a key feature of metropolitan governance scholarship. Despite the excellent work exploring interjurisdictional competition, the conceptualization and operationalization of competition still lack the necessary complexity to fully capture the determinants of competition. In reality, the degree of competition between local governments is a multidimensional concept. How do the different dimensions of competition impact a city’s own-source revenue yield? Using a Spatial Durbin Model (SDM) to analyze a sample of 2,299 U.S. cities, this study finds that household income differentiation and manufacturing differentiation are important in a city’s revenue yield, and both types of differentiation limit head-to-head competition among local governments. In addition, the results indicate that entry barriers and collaboration affect a city’s revenue yields, while the number of cities in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) does not influence those collections.
From the overview:
Though the U.S. economy improved for a fourth straight year in fiscal year 2013, many big cities faced constrained budgets because of weak property tax revenue growth and cuts in federal and state aid.
This brief focuses on the cities that anchor the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The fiscal health of the cities varied considerably in fiscal 2013, depending on their circumstances. Still, a number of trends emerge concerning the cities’ revenue, spending, and reserves.
The analysis, based on audited city financial statements, continues work undertaken by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ American cities project following the Great Recession, which ran from late 2007 through mid-2009. For this multiyear series, Pew has examined data in the financial statements of the central city in each of the nation’s 30 largest metro areas (as defined by the 2010 census). Though included in previous analyses, Cincinnati was excluded from the most recent look at revenue, spending, and reserves because city officials changed its fiscal year in 2013. That resulted in financial documents that covered only six months and made it impossible to compare financial information to previous years or to other cities included in the analysis.
A separate brief, “Issuance of New Money Bonds Remains Low in Large U.S. Cities,” looks at trends in city bond issuances through 2014….
From the abstract:
Cities are once again on the rise and have become the site of major public debates, from income inequality and immigration policy to where and how Americans should live. While municipal leaders are often eager to fill the void in political leadership left by Congress and state elected officials, they are often hamstrung by state home rule laws, which define the powers states grant to municipalities. These laws limit, among other things, municipal taxing authority. Recently, local government scholars have wrestled with whether and how to grant municipalities more fiscal authority, but such scholarship has not provided a unified theory of municipal taxing authority.
This Article considers in detail whether and how to expand city taxing authority. It argues that state law should grant municipal governments “presumptive taxing authority.” This presumptive taxing authority would parallel municipal regulatory authority and be similarly subject to state preemption law. Such reform would open the door to more municipal revenue innovation, while ensuring that the state can vindicate its weighty policy interests.
From the abstract:
Philadelphia has a complex and antiquated tax system that has long been criticized for driving employers and jobs away from Philadelphia by making it expensive to conduct business in the City. The centerpiece of the Philadelphia tax system is the Philadelphia wage tax, which raised more than $1.6 billion in 2014. That tax has been challenged as unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Wynne v. Comptroller of Maryland, which struck down a structurally similar Maryland tax. This Essay explains the constitutional challenge to the City wage tax, argues that the tax is unconstitutional, describes steps the City could take to save that tax, and raises the question of whether Philadelphia should save or eliminate its wage tax.