State and local governments are struggling in this economic downturn, facing budget shortfalls and scrambling for new revenue sources. Potential responses to these seismic changes in public finance will be the focus of the fourth annual Land Policy Conference, The Changing Landscape of Local Public Revenues, sponsored by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge June 1-2.
“State and local governments are confronting budget challenges that are staggering. We are witnessing, in this economic downturn, a kind of slow-motion train wreck,” said Gregory K. Ingram, president of the Lincoln Institute. “We believe these governments can benefit from the new ideas and practices discussed at this conference.”
Panels will address trends in local government revenues and local fiscal autonomy, creative designs of the “patchwork quilt” of municipal finance, local-option sales and income tax, impact fees, business improvement districts, tax increment financing, the role of homeowners associations, the performance of new and old revenue tools, and how changing revenue sources may fundamentally change the role of local government.
Speakers include Robert P. Inman, University of Pennsylvania, on local revenue sources and cities, Jeffrey I. Chapman, Arizona State University, on new methods of infrastructure finance, Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez, Harvard University, on prospects for private finance of highways in the U.S., and many others: John E. Anderson, University of Nebraska at Lincoln; James Edwin Benton, University of South Florida; Richard Briffault and Lynne B. Sagalyn, Columbia University; Leah Brooks and Michael Smart, University of Toronto; Gregory S. Burge and Cynthia L. Rogers,, University of Oklahoma; Jose Carbajo, Frontier Economics; Ron Cheung, Florida State University; Robert J. Eger and Richard C. Feiock, Florida State University; William F. Fox, University of Tennessee; Tracy M. Gordon, University of Maryland; Jocelyn M. Johnston, American University; Rachel Meltzer, New York University; David F. Merriman, University of Illinois at Chicago; John L. Mikesell, Indiana University-Bloomington; Carol O’Cleireacain, The Brookings Institution; Michael A. Pagano, University of Illinois at Chicago; Kim Rueben, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Institute and Urban Institute; Albert Saiz, University of Pennsylvania; Paulo Henrique Sandroni, Getúlio Vargas Foundation and Sandroni Consultores; William Simonsen and Mark D. Robbins, University of Connecticut; David L. Sjoquist, Georgia State University; Mark Skidmore, Michigan State University; Margaret Walls, Resources for the Future; Michael J. Wasylenko, Syracuse University; and David E. Wildasin, University of Kentucky.
Meanwhile, papers and presentations from last year’s Land Policy Conference, on property rights, has been compiled in a book also published this month, Property Rights and Land Policies edited by Gregory K. Ingram and Yu-Hung Hong. The volumes on the Land Policy Conference from previous years are Land Policies and Fiscal Decentralization, based on the 2007 conference, and Land Policies and Their Outcomes, based on the 2006 conference.