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Justin Marlowe  |  Columnist

Email : jmarlowe@washington.edu

Justin Marlowe is a research professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. His research and teaching are focused on public finance, and he has published five books — including the first open-access textbook on public financial management — and more than 100 articles on public capital markets, infrastructure finance, financial disclosure, public financial technology and public-private private partnerships. He is an admitted expert witness in federal and state courts, and has served on technical advisory bodies for the state of Washington, the California state auditor, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the National Academy of Sciences, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many other public, private and nonprofit organizations. Prior to academia he worked in local government in Michigan. He is a Certified Government Financial Manager and an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and he holds a Ph.D. in political science and public administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Public Money

The Change That Could Shift Public Opinion on Taxes

We’ve been wary of taxation since the Boston Tea Party. New finance ethics rules will help.

August 1, 2019
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Public Money

This Once-Popular Public Policy Tool Could Be Key to States’ Budget Futures

Coordinating commissions have fallen out of favor. It’s time to bring them back.

June 12, 2019
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Public Money

A Cautionary Tale for the New Muni Bond Era

A decade after the Libor scandal, a new approach to interest rates could help U.S. states and cities -- if they change their thinking.

April 22, 2019
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Public Money

The Fairest Tax During a Recession May Be the Least Popular

What's "fair" changes along with the economy.

February 15, 2019
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Public Money

It’s Hard to Get Cities to Share Services. States Can Help.

Fiscal incentives can encourage local governments to consolidate redundant operations.

December 11, 2018
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Public Money

Automation Can't Replace Accountants

Government accounting is changing, but we'll still need smart humans in charge.

October 15, 2018
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Public Money

For Muni Bond Sales, Brand Matters

Marketing is especially important for smaller local governments, and states have a role to play.

August 28, 2018
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Public Money

A Glimpse Into the Future of P3s

The real money isn't in roads and bridges. It's in people and services.

June 19, 2018
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Public Money

Partners at Last: CIOs and CFOs 4.0

Chief information officers and chief financial officers haven’t always gotten along. That’s not true anymore.

April 11, 2018
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Commentary

Can An Old Tax Tool Teach Us New Tricks?

Fiscal equalization offers three lessons in local tax policy and regional prosperity.

February 27, 2018
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Commentary

Friends With Tax Benefits

Deep within the Affordable Care Act is a tax break that could help a lot of budgets.

December 1, 2017
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Public Money

Tax Battle Lines Shift in Cities and Suburbs

Local income taxes were once blamed for causing businesses to flee to the suburbs. Not anymore.

October 9, 2017
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Public Money

What's Good Enough for the Gherkin Should Be Good Enough for Americans

The most sophisticated risk managers in the world invest in state and local governments. So why are Americans so hesitant?

August 23, 2017
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Public Money

Who Pays the Local Tax Bill?

There’s disagreement over who bears the biggest burden: the poor or the wealthy.

June 28, 2017
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Public Money

Millennials’ Investment Strategy Could Be a Boon for Government

Their drive to make a meaningful impact could provide the public sector a new pool of investors.

April 18, 2017
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Public Money

The Secret Benefits of Sharing Government Services

They may not show up in the bottom line.

February 22, 2017
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Selling Your Sewer’s Story

Financial statements can make the best case for public works investors.

December 13, 2016
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Public Money

A Better Way to Measure Pension Debt's Danger

'Overlapping' is often ignored, resulting in misleading assumptions about government liabilities.

October 11, 2016
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Public Money

Bias in the Municipal Bond Market

Does a sullied past haunt a bond issuer’s future?

August 23, 2016
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Public Money

3 Ways to Take P3s to the Next Level

"Blended" models have the potential to bridge some big gaps in infrastructure finance.

June 1, 2016
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Public Money

The Great Recession's Lessons on Rainy Day Funds

At least one state is using the experience to find a new way to prepare for the next recession.

April 28, 2016
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Public Money

How 'Philanthrocapitalism' Could Transform Government

Mark Zuckerberg has ushered in a new form of philanthropy that has the potential to bring about positive change

February 1, 2016
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Public Money

Is 'Fair Value' Accounting Actually Fair?

The practice is loved by government accountants and scorned by bankers and investors.

December 1, 2015
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Public Money

CFOs Are Movin' On Up

In local government, chief financial officers are starting to find a clearer path to the top spot.

October 1, 2015
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Public Money

Are Muni Bonds an Income Equalizer?

A surprising look at who owns and who benefits the most from tax-exempt debt.

August 1, 2015
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Public Money

3 Ways to Bring Taxes Into the 21st Century

But only one of these three modernization methods of revenue raising has a chance.

June 1, 2015
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Public Money

The ‘New Neutral’ Is Here

That’s bad news for those who manage public money.

April 1, 2015
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Public Money

The ABCs of Cost Accountability

Want to know how to do less with less? Activity-based costing has great promise.

February 1, 2015
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Public Money

Environmental Risks Becoming Part of Bond Assessments

Municipal bond investors have started asking governments to disclose their area's environmental hazards, but a lot of the information they want is not yet known.

December 1, 2014
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Public Money

Seattle Adopts an Old Way to Pay for New Parks

While the city's parks no longer have to compete with police and other essential services for funding, this model has its drawbacks.

October 1, 2014
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Public Money

Should Someone Audit Government Auditors?

There's a push for local governments to establish independent audit committees.

August 1, 2014
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Public Money

Public Health Funding May Get a Shot in the Arm

After suffering deep cuts during the recession, public health officials are rethinking how to fund these essential services.

June 1, 2014
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Public Money

Bonds and the BFF Problem

A new rule tries to keep muni market players from getting too friendly.

April 1, 2014
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Public Money

This Annual Financial Report Says What?

If there’s a bright side to governments’ money problems, it’s that it’s forcing them to use plain English to talk about their finances.

February 1, 2014
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Public Money

How to Make ‘Pay As You Go’ Work for Large Capital Projects

Maricopa County, Ariz., has found a way to make paygo pay off.

December 1, 2013
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Public Money

The Murky Muni Market in the Post-Detroit Bankruptcy Era

State and local governments need to change how they tell their story.

October 1, 2013
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Public Money

Do Cities Actually Save Money When They Merge?

There are benefits in city consolidations, but the payback may not be financial.

August 1, 2013
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Public Money

What’s the Point of Rainy Day Funds?

States and localities both save for unseen emergencies and hard times. But when it comes to using the funds, their approach couldn't be more different.

May 31, 2013
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Public Money

How to Talk About Tax Expenditures

There are ways to take some of the partisan heat out of the discussion.

March 29, 2013
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Public Money

Muni Bonds' Future May Lie in Foreign Investors' Hands

Foreign investors matter to the municipal bond market for two reasons.

January 31, 2013
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Public Money

Are We Asking Our Finance Officers to Do the Impossible?

We’re trying to use financial risk-management tools to solve political problems. That’s putting the people who manage public money in a tenuous position.

August 28, 2012
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