Michigan Local Government Fiscal Health Project
Launched in 2019, and working in partnership with the Michigan State University Extension Center for Local Government Finance & Policy and the Michigan Department of Treasury, CLOSUP’s Michigan Local Government Fiscal Health Project is aimed at developing a deeper understanding of the fiscal health and fiscal challenges of local governments in Michigan. This deeper understanding will contribute toward a proactive approach to local fiscal health in Michigan, promoting greater transparency and early detection of signs of fiscal stress.
The project will combine insights from local officials, reported through the Michigan Public Policy Survey, with insights from various sources of local government financial and economic data to explore research questions such as:
- How do local officials assess their fiscal health, and how are their assessments related to various aspects of fiscal health, including budget balancing, service delivery, infrastructure, and retiree pensions/healthcare?
- How do local officials’ assessments compare to measures of fiscal health derived from financial and economic data? To the extent that they disagree, what accounts for the difference?
- Are there systematic differences between governments that report higher levels of stress versus lower levels of stress?
Publications and Presentations
- Local Government Fiscal Health: Comparing Self-Assessments to Conventional Measures:
- 2019 September – Association for Budgeting & Financial Management Annual Conference – How do local government officials perceive fiscal health?
Lecturer in Public Policy
Stephanie Leiser is a lecturer at the Ford School. Her general area of interest is in public finance, budgeting, and financial management, and she has particular expertise in state and local tax policy, tax incentives for business, and other issues related to the taxation of business. She was previously a lecturer at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington, where she also earned her Ph.D. in 2014. Stephanie has taught courses in public budgeting and financial management, tax policy, nonprofit financial management, and microeconomics. A Ford School alum (MPP '05), she has also worked as a tax policy analyst for the Michigan legislature and continues to consult with leaders in Lansing on tax policy issues.
Local Government Fiscal Health in the MPPS
The Michigan Public Policy Survey has published numerous reports on a range of issues that impact local fiscal health
Annual fiscal health tracking
- Despite sustained economic growth, Michigan local government fiscal health still lags (November 2018)
- Michigan local government officials report complex mix of improvement and decline in fiscal health, but with overall trend moving slowly upward (October 2017)
- More years of fiscal health tracking reports