City Fiscal Conditions in 2013

The National League of Cities’ 28th annual survey of city finance officers reveals an overall picture of a gradually improving economy and improving city fiscal conditions. A majority of city finance officers report that their cities are better able to meet financial needs in 2013 than in 2012.

This is largely a result of slowly improving housing markets and increased consumer spending, which are strengthening local tax bases and economic outlooks in local and regional economies. However, continued high levels of unemployment, uncertainty about federal and state actions, and long-term pension and health benefit obligations continue to constrain the potential for strong economic growth for many cities.

Beyond 2013, the report finds that a number of factors will play a role in determining the fiscal conditions of cities:

  • The strength of the real estate market and its impact on property tax revenue
  • The level of consumer confidence, employment, and wages
  • The costs of healthcare coverage and pensions
  • The continuation of cities operating with reduced workforces and service levels
  • External policy shifts in the face of an economic recovery, including cuts in federal spending and threats to regional-local economic conditions from political gridlock on issues such as the federal budget and U.S. debt ceiling

Resources

City Fiscal Conditions Report Release