Nov 19, 2014

City Fiscal Conditions Improving; Outlook Constrained

According to the City Fiscal Conditions 2014 report from the National League of Cities (NLC), fiscal conditions in U.S. cities are improving with 80% of survey respondents indicating their cities are better able to meet fiscal needs in 2014 than in 2013.  Among the report’s more positive findings are that more cities noted improved conditions this year than any other year in the survey’s 29 year history, more cities are increasing rather than decreasing their workforce, and property tax revenues are projected to increase, the first positive growth in the past five years.

A couple of cautionary notes: Sales and incomes tax revenues are projected to slow in 2014 and, while ending balances have increased, they continue to be below 2006 levels. “Infrastructure needs” was cited as having a negative impact on budgets, as were the cost of employee and retiree health benefits and pensions.

The annual NLC survey was sent to finance officers in 1,000 US cities with populations of greater than 10,000. For the 100 largest cities by population, data were collected directly from budget documents. To access the full report, visit the NLC website at: