Michael A. Pagano is dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of many books and articles on urban finance, infrastructure, federalism and urban development. His forthcoming book is Metropolitan Resilience in a Time of Economic Turmoil. Since 1991, he has written the annual City Fiscal Conditions report for the National League of Cities and is currently the principal investigator of a three-year project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to research city fiscal behavior and city financial adaptations before and during the Great Recession.
Hospitals, museums and education institutions have become important parts of a city's economy. They also consume government services, but pay little, if anything in return. It's time to rethink the relationship.