Foundations of Local Government Finance in the United States



Offered in English

This online self-paced course provides an overview of how local governments in the US raise and spend money. It illuminates the often-misunderstood system by which communities pay for public services and infrastructure—from schools to clean water to sidewalks—that are foundational to a high quality of life.

This course is intended for urban planners and other local government staff, real estate professionals, employees of nonprofit organizations, and anyone interested in how local governments pay for public goods. In nine modules led by top experts, the course explains the structure of different levels of government in the US, delves into the revenue sources and financial instruments available to local governments, and explores other topics related to the fiscal health of communities and regions.



Module 1: Why Do We Have Local Governments?

Instructor: Jenna DeAngelo Martin

Module 2: Understanding Local Government Budgets

Instructor: John Anderson

Module 3: Overview of Local Revenues

Instructor: Adam Langley

Module 4: The Property Tax

Instructor: Bethany Paquin

Module 5: Economic Development

Instructor: Daphne Kenyon

Module 6: Land Value Capture

Instructor: Luis Quintanilla

Module 7: Debt

Instructor: Jenna DeAngelo Martin

Module 8: Public-Private Partnerships

Instructor: Tom Morsch

Module 9: Other Considerations, Wrap Up, and Final Assessment

Instructor: Jenna DeAngelo Martin


Time Commitment

Everyone learns at their own pace. However, we can provide some guidance as to how long it will take to complete this course. In total, you will need to watch a little over four hours of videos. In addition, you will need to complete a short assessment at the end of each module and a final assessment at the end of the course. We estimate it will take at least five hours to complete this course. This is a self-paced course, so you can leave the course and pick up where you left off whenever you would like, and take as long as you need to complete it.



Upon completion of all aspects of this course (including the pre-course survey, the final assessment, and the course evaluation survey), students will be issued a certificate of completion.

For planners maintaining their AICP credentials, this course provides five (5) Certification Maintenance (CM) credits from the American Planning Association (APA). You are responsible for logging your own CM credits.


Course Type
Self-Paced Courses
Registration Fee
Educational Credit Type
Lincoln Institute certificate



Economic Development, Infrastructure, Local Government, Municipal Fiscal Health, Planning, Property Taxation, Public Finance, Public Policy, Tax Increment Financing, Taxation, Value Capture