Popular Writing


"The State and Local Finance Twittersphere," Government Finance Research Center Blog, April 5, 2022.

"To Keep the Bears in Chicago, Partner with Them" (with Chris Berry), Crain's Chicago Business, October 28, 2021

"Chicago's Revenues and Spending Will Never be the Same," Crain's Chicago Business, October 25, 2021

Government Finance Review

June 2023 - "A New Premium on Discount Rates" (pp. 64-65)

April 2023 - "Obliging the Conduits" (pp. 62-63)

October 2022 - "Recycling the Muni Exemption Debate" (pp. 74-75)

August 2022 - "Keeping Local Taxation in the Game" (pp. 74-75)

February 2022 - "Better Questions about Tax Preferences" (pp. 74-75)

October 2021 - "Twos are the New Fives" (pp. 78-79)

October 2020 - "Learning to Love Inflation" (pp. 80-81)

August 2020 - "The Speed of the Audience" (pp. 142-143)

Selected Other Popular Writing

"The State of the $2 Trillion Local Government Checkbook." A short essay on local government financial health that appeared in the UChicago Booth School of Business' popular publication ProMarket. Co-authored with my colleague Chris Berry.

"Building a Stronger Fiscal Foundation: An Agenda for 2021." This is a report from the National Academy of Public Administration's Working Group on "Advancing the Nation's Fiscal Future." The working group included senior public finance practitioners and researchers.

"Municipal Bonds and Infrastructure Development: Past, Present, and Future." For this report I analyzed the benefit to state and local governments of the federal tax exemption on municipal bonds. Clients: International City/County Management Association and the Government Finance Officers Association." This report was covered by various media outlets, including the Bond Buyer.

Governing Guides to Financial Literacy. These publications are a "Public Finance 101" for state and local government officials. Volume 1 covered the fundamental concepts of state and local budgeting, finance, and financial management. Volume 2 focused on measuring and managing government financial health. Volume 3 is about how governments can use "public-private partnerships" to finance major infrastructure projects. Volume 4 is about how to successfully implement public-private partnerships. These Guides are produced by Governing magazine's publisher, e.Republic.

"Determining and Distributing the Costs of Shared Public Health Services." This report outlines strategies for how to measure and allocate the costs of shared services for local public health agencies. Client: Center for Sharing Public Health Services.

MBIS Comparable Securities Service. On behalf of Municipal Bond Information Services (MBIS), I developed a machine learning approach to grouping municipal bonds. This approach produces a range of likely prices on thinly-traded securities. Click here for a paper that outlines the approach. Click here for more on MBIS and the Comparable Securities Service. 

Governing Magazine

From 2013 through August 2019 I wrote the "Public Money" column for Governing magazine. Governing magazine dissolved in September 2019, but the Governing masthead continues as a news aggregator with some opinion/commentary.

August 2019 - "The Change that Could Shift Public Opinion on Taxes"

June 2019 - "This Once-Popular Public Policy Tool Could be Key to States' Budget Futures"

April 2019 - "A Cautionary Tale for the New Muni Bond Era"

February 2019 - "The Fairest Tax During a Recession May be the Least Popular"

December 2018 - "It's Hard to Get Cities to Share Services. States Can Help"

October 2018 - "Automation Can't Replace Accountants"

August 2018 - "For Muni Bond Sales, Brand Matters"

June 2018 - "A Glimpse into the Future of P3s"

April 2018 - "Partners at Last: CIOs and CFOs 4.0"

February 2018 - "Can an Old Tax Tool Teach Us New Tricks?"

December 2017 - "Friends with Tax Benefits"

October 2017 - "Tax Battle Lines Shift Between Cities and Suburbs"

August 2017 - "What's Good Enough for the Gherkin..."

June 2017 - "Who Pays the Local Tax Bill?"

April 2017 - "Millennials' Investment Strategy Could be a Boon to Governments"

February 2017 - "The Secret Benefits of Sharing Government Services"

December 2016 - "Selling Your Sewer's Story"

October 2016 - "A Better Way to Measure Pension Debt's Danger"

August 2016 - "Bias in the Municipal Bond Market"

June 2016 - "Three Ways to Take P3s to the Next Level"

April 2016 - "The Great Recession's Lesson on Rainy Day Funds"

February 2016 - "How 'Philanthrocapitalism' Could Transform Government"

December 2015 - "Is Fair Value Accounting Really Fair?"

October 2015 - "CFOs are Moving on Up"

August 2015 - "Are Muni Bonds an Income Equalizer?"

June 2015 - "Three Ways to Bring Taxes into the 21st Century"

April 2015 - "The New Neutral is Here"

February 2015 - "The ABCs of Cost Accountability"

December 2014 - "Environmental Risks Becoming Part of Bond Assessments"

October 2014 - "Seattle Adopts an Old Way to Pay for New Parks"

August 2014 - "Should Someone Audit Government Auditors?"

June 2014 - "Public Health Funding May Get a Shot in the Arm"

April 2014 - "Bonds and the BFF Problem"

February 2014 - "The Annual Financial Report Says What?"

December 2013 - "Can "PAYGO" Work for Capital Budgeting?"

June 2013 - "What's the Point of Rainy Day Funds?"