Fri, Mar 31, 2017

State Collection of Local Government Public Finance Data

In a conversation with a few colleagues, the question came up of which states collect public finance data on their respective local governments. Over the years, I have been keeping a list of such resources just in case I might want/need to use the data for a project. It dawned on me that I probably should not be hoarding this resource.

Tue, Feb 14, 2017

Maps in R using library(maps), Update!

I’ve previously written about how to make simple, print ready maps in R using library(maps). Unfortunately, the more recent versions the county database has some issues with relating FIPS codes to the correct county on the map. I’ve found that I had to roll back library(maps) to version 2.3-0 in order to get the county database to work as advertised. (FWIW, I haven’t had any issues with any of the other databases in the more recent versions.

Tue, Jan 13, 2015

Property Tax Reliance in U.S. County Areas

The property tax has a number of desirable properties. State and local governments have been using it in the U.S. forever, and it’s incredibly stable (up to a point, see 2008-2009). The tax is easy to administer at the local level. It can also be thought of as a benefits tax. Local control of the rate and the base enhances fiscal autonomy. Finally, the property tax is a highly visible and transparent form of taxation.

Thu, Jul 11, 2013

Maps in R using library(maps)

My last few posts have included a large number of maps to visualize the Census of Governments’ organizations data. Rather than using a full fledged GIS program like ArcGIS or QGIS, I made these maps using the statistical and graphics program R. There are a number of reasons for this decision, principally the need to create a large number of similar maps. Writing code to accomplish this task is a lot easier than making a number of identical maps by hand.

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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