Navigating State and Local Finance
Past trends will not foretell the future, but charting how state and local finances weathered the 2001 recession suggests viable ways to navigate going forward. Lacking the deficit finance ability of the federal government, states and localities must set a spending course based on anticipated taxes and revenues. An unexpected crisis-like the stock bubble burst at the beginning of this century and the subsequent economic slowdown-that throws budgets into fiscal chaos requires such unpopular bailouts as tax increases or cuts in services and welfare. Did that happen?
Participants at a Lincoln Institute-sponsored conference in March 2007 gathered at the Urban Institute in Washington DC, to discuss the recession and share findings on how states and localities determined various actions and policies to address its impacts. This conference, titled "State and Local Finances after the Storm: Is Smooth Sailing Ahead?", was also hosted by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, and by the Kellogg School of Management and the Institute for Policy Research, both at Northwestern University.