Understanding Municipal Fiscal Health : A Model for Local Governments in the USA book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Municipal Fiscal Health
A Model for Local Governments in the USA

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 1, 2023
ISBN 9781032055428
February 1, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
288 Pages 69 B/W Illustrations

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USD $58.95

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Book Description

Understanding Municipal Fiscal Health provides an in-depth assessment of the fiscal health of cities throughout the USA.

The book examines the tools currently available to cities for designing a revenue structure, measuring fiscal conditions and measuring fiscal health. It explains how artificial policies such as tax and expenditure limitations influence fiscal policies, and how communities can overcome socioeconomic and state-policy barriers to produce strong fiscal conditions. The authors go beyond simple theory to analyze patterns of fiscal health using actual financial, demographic and TEL data from an accurate data source, the Government Financial Officers Association survey. The book offers a solid basis of empirical evidence including quantitative case studies — complete with discussion questions — to help practitioners better understand the environment in which they are functioning and the policy tools they need to help advocate for change.

This book teaches the reader the science and art of municipal financial analysis, and will be invaluable for local and state officials, analysts, and students and researchers.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Inputs: Municipal Fiscal Environments

3. Outputs: Municipal Fiscal Trends

4. Outcomes: Measuring Fiscal Health

5. Outcomes: Measuring Fiscal Stress

6. Outcomes: Municipal Fiscal Condition Trends

7. Policy Actions: Municipal Responses to Fiscal Stress

8. Policy Actions: State Responses to Municipal Fiscal Stress

Foreword to Municipal Case Studies

9. Case Study of Flint, Michigan

10. Case Study of Wichita, Kansas

11. Case Study of North Lauderdale, Florida

12. Case Study of Havelock, North Carolina

13. Case Study of Commerce, California

14. Academic and Professional Approaches to Financial Condition Analysis

15. Conclusions and Lessons Learned

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Craig S. Maher is a full professor and current Director of the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA.

Sungho Park is an assistant professor of public policy and administration in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alabama, USA.

Bruce D. McDonald III is an associate professor of public budgeting and finance at North Carolina State University, USA.

Steven C. Deller is a professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA, and a community economic development specialist with its Division of Extension.


"The authors provide a comprehensive guide to the assessment of municipal fiscal health and stress that will be essential for local and state officials, analysts, and students and researchers. The data and measures available to public finance analysts has proliferated, but, until now, there was no clear guide on how to use it. This book teaches the reader the science and the art of municipal financial analysis and will be used for years."

John R. Bartle, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA

"Despite local government’s indispensable contributions to our communities and the many billions of dollars that flow into local government budgets, there is no obvious way to judge the financial condition of these institutions. Understanding Municipal Fiscal Health provides a much-needed explanation of the inescapable complexities of measuring the financial condition of local governments. It covers the spectrum of issues that must be considered when attempting to measure the financial performance of organizations that don’t exist for a financial purpose! It also offers practical examples and insights that can help scholars and practitioners better apply the discipline of financial condition analysis to local governments and, thereby, support their continued viability."

Shayne Kavanagh, Government Finance Officers Association, USA