April 22, 2021

Special Districts: America’s Shadow Governments

I recently had the pleasure of writing a short blog post for the UIC Government Finance Research Center’s blog. The piece is a bit of a short explainer on special districts in the United States and a few fiscal issues that arise. It’s by no means comprehensive but part of a broader focus I have on writing more popular or policy focused work on these relatively hidden local governments. Below is the intro (I don’t have full re-print rights) and a link to the original.

April 16, 2021

Municipal Fragmentation in U.S. Metro Areas in 3 Maps

Over on Twitter, Dan Immergluck (GSU) asked about what municipal fragmentation in the U.S. at the metropolitan level looked like. I, an expert on local government fragmentation, saw it as my duty to get to the bottom of this. I have the data to do it. It only needs to be reworked slightly.

September 15, 2020

The Price of Residential Street Parking

Cities, broadly, manage a number of public assets with which they provide public services. Some of those services are somewhat passive in the sense that no active labor aside from maintenance is being carried out. And others are more active in that the asset is being used by public sector employees or contractors to provide a public service. We generally think of the latter as the primary mode of public service delivery as it is more visible. We see the bus driver, the police officer, the firefighter, etc in our communities doing their jobs. But the passive service is no less important. We drive on roads, use water and sewer infrastructure (though this is a blended service), etc on a daily basis as we go about our lives. One of the big differences between these two kinds of services is how the public sector asks users to pay for them. Some services are supported through taxes, but a great many are supported through user fees. Below, I point out two approaches to this for getting around a central city: the cost of storing a vehicle on a public street versus the cost of using the transit system.

Some of my random musing. Typically on data visualization. Sometimes my research. Sometimes both. View an index of posts by category.



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