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City Rights in an Era of Preemption: A State-by-State Analysis

February 16, 2017

In a new report, NLC finds that states limit city power through preemption in a number of policy areas, ranging from labor protections to taxing authority.Preemption is the use of state law to nullify a municipal ordinance or authority. In some cases, preemption can lead to improved policy statewide. However, preemption that prevents cities from expanding rights, building stronger economies, and promoting innovation can be counterproductive when decision-making is divorced from the core wants and needs of community members.

City Fiscal Conditions 2016

October 13, 2016

In the wake of a slow recovery, the fiscal condition of U.S. cities is strengthening. The nation's city finance officers widely report improved fiscal health, driven by better-than-anticipated General Fund revenue growth and solid performance of ending balances.Each year, the National League of Cities surveys city finance officers about actual and budgeted revenues and expenditures as well as policy actions and priorities. Taken together, their responses provide a snapshot of the "average city" within the municipal sector.

City Fiscal Conditions 2015: 30th Anniversary

September 23, 2015

This year marks the 30th edition of the City Fiscal Conditions survey of city finance officers. Based on the rich historical data accumulated over three business cycles, this year's report provides an important retrospective and comparative analysis of fiscal impacts resulting from the 1990, 2001 and 2007 recessions, in addition to our annual analysis of current fiscal conditions. In 2015, the fiscal condition of U.S. cities continues to show modest improvement. City finance officers are more optimistic than ever, driven largely by an expansion of General Fund revenues. These recent gains, however, have not been substantial enough to restore the revenue declines of the six years prior. When compared to the 1990 and 2001 recessions, it is clear that the fiscal impacts of the 2007 recession are much more substantial, both in terms of depth and duration.

Citites And Unequal Recovery: Local Economic Conditions Survey 2015

August 12, 2015

Even as economic conditions in cities have improved in the years since the Great Recession, a new study from the National League of Cities (NLC) found that many factors -- including lack of affordable housing, poverty, and skill and achievement gaps -- are impeding the long-term economic sustainability of cities. "Cities and Unequal Recovery," an analysis based on a survey of more than 250 city officials from cities of all sizes, uncovers dual realities in cities, where even as conditions improve, persistent challenges prevent the benefits of this growth from reaching many. The survey found that nearly all cities saw economic improvement in the past year, with 28 percent of city officials reporting vast improvement and 64 percent reporting slight improvement. Drivers of growth -- including new business startups, business expansions, property values and retail sector health -- starkly contrast with the reality of many residents on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Skills gaps, lack of affordable housing and the rising demand for basic needs, like food and shelter, reveal that while economic conditions are improving for some, they are worsening for others.

Cities and State Fiscal Structure

March 11, 2015

The fiscal systems of cities are defined by the states in which they are located. These systems can create an environment that either allows municipalities to fund their share of resident needs and to thrive economically or constrains the ability of cities to balance budgets and deliver basic services. This report examines how the key components of these systems (fiscal authority, revenue reliance/capacity, state aid and tax and expenditure limitations) are structured across states.

The State of America's Cities 2007 -- Local Housing Conditions and Contexts: A Framework for Policy Making

January 1, 2007

Assesses local housing conditions and the connections between housing and other municipal issues; evaluates the costs, risks, and complexities of affordable housing policy options; and reviews policies that municipal housing directors find effective.