AUTHORS

Frank Shafroth is the director of the Center for State and Local Leadership at George Mason University, where he is also an assistant professor, and is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Public Policy at George Washington University. He has served as the director of federal policy and intergovernmental relations for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, was chief of staff for U.S. Rep. James Moran, was director of policy and federal relations for both the National Governors Association and the National League of Cities, and was assistant counsel for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. He is a regular columnist for State Tax Notes and an attorney. He is currently heading a project for the MacArthur Foundation on the topic of severe municipal fiscal stress.

November 1, 2014

States Struggle to Contain Firefighting Costs

As fire departments’ costs have increased in recent years, their volunteers have drastically dropped.
September 1, 2014

Fracking's Financial Losers: Local Governments

Localities are forced to deal with much of the problems associated with fracking, while states and the federal government rake in all the revenue.
July 1, 2014

Can Governments Give the People What They Want?

It’s not that governments don’t want to give the public the services they demand, it’s that they increasingly can’t afford to -- even by raising taxes.
June 30, 2014

The Risks States Take for Their Distressed Cities

Wall Street can be hard on a state that moves to keep its local governments solvent or help them through bankruptcy. But it's a chance that some states have decided is worth taking.
May 1, 2014

Why Cities Can’t Go Bankrupt in Canada or Germany

There’s a lot America can learn from these two countries about how to avert municipal bankruptcies.
April 7, 2014

Distressed Localities and the Growing Role of the States

Smart state leaders are recognizing that it costs a lot less to keep a struggling city, county or school district out of trouble in the first place.
March 1, 2014

Double Whammy

Confronting social inequality is harder when a city is struggling.
February 13, 2014

The Daunting Costs of Municipal Bankruptcy

It's always going to be expensive, but getting it right is critical.
February 10, 2014

An Extraordinary Effort to Build a Future for Detroit

The diverse group of people dealing with the city's bankruptcy could teach Washington a lot about collaboration and creativity.
January 16, 2014

Who Will Cover the Costs of an Aging America?

Demographic change and tax policies that favor the elderly mean an ever-widening fiscal gap for state and local governments.
January 1, 2014

Why Paying for Public Colleges Really Pays Off

The disinvestment and reliance on higher student fees and tuition creates significant risks not only for students—but for states, too.
December 23, 2013

The Reality of Secession: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Colorado's county secession movement was sparked by a growing disconnect between rural and urban areas. Rather than forming a new state, it might make more sense to try to deal with that disconnect.
December 12, 2013

Cities' Fiscal Health in the Aftermath of the Great Recession

There are positive signs, but there also is a lot of variation in how they fared through the downturn and beyond.
November 1, 2013

Judges: The True Pension Referees in Bankruptcy Cases

When a city is bankrupt, judges have a big say in whose bills will be paid. For now, all eyes are on Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif.
September 1, 2013

The Secret Tax Explosion

Special districts are growing like weeds—and raising tax burdens as they proliferate.