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Girard Miller

Girard Miller

Finance Columnist

Girard Miller is the finance columnist for Governing. He is a retired investment and public finance professional and the author of “Enlightened Public Finance” (2019). Miller brings 30 years of experience in public finance and investments as a former Governmental Accounting Standards Board member and ICMA Retirement Corp. president.

Miller writes Governing's bi-weekly newsletter on public finance, which you can sign up for here.

He can be reached at 

Proposals to eliminate them usually ignore the basic facts of life in state and local revenue management. Successful changes will be focused and surgical, and there is an intriguing opportunity to apply AI to local tax relief.
Congress could enable cities to employ tax-exempt bonds to help stabilize their office tax bases in a way that’s friendly to both taxpayers and the IRS. There might already be opportunities for brave mayors and crafty public financiers.
Today’s interest rates may tempt public financiers to try to play the spread between tax-exempt and taxable bond yields. That invites heightened federal scrutiny, but there are some strategies likely to avoid the bite of the IRS.
Billions of dollars in tax-sheltered municipal bonds are sold to fund stadiums and arenas that enrich team owners while fueling federal deficits. Local politicians can’t say no, but Congress should.
The Georgists advocated shifting the tax burden from buildings to land. Today that would face major political hurdles, but there might be variations on the concept that could spur housing development and discourage land speculators.
Long-term financial incentives for investment success are commonplace in the private sector, but tricky to design in public retirement plans. The implementation challenges are structural, operational, methodological and, yes, political.
To compete for winning investment performance in capital markets, the plans need to build stronger internal bench depth. Compensation is part of the picture, but they also need to beef up their training camps.
As inflation and interest rates ease, 2024 will be a perfect time for overdue multiyear strategic planning and keeping up with breakthrough information technologies.
States and localities may have hidden treasure in their data that can be profitably unearthed by commercial interests. Governments need to be able to realize the value of their data while still protecting the public.
Office workers’ exodus should be countered with wiser state and federal tax incentives, and there’s a novel municipal bond angle to promote. But cities themselves must step up to stem the urban maladies that feed public fears.