On the Edge: Balancing Budgets in a Postpandemic World
The Volcker Alliance invites you to join William Glasgall, Volcker Alliance senior director, public finance, in a conversation with Beverly Bunch, professor, School of Public Management and Policy, University of Illinois Springfield, and author of the new issue paper On the Edge: Balancing Budgets in a Postpandemic World. The paper is the latest in a series of Alliance reports on state and local budgeting in the COVID-19 Era. Bill and Beverly will be joined by Patricia Byrnes, associate professor, Accounting, Economics, and Finance, University of Illinois Springfield, who was a member of the research team for the paper.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) authorized unprecedented levels of federal financial assistance to help state and local governments address the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and maintain essential public services. The act included the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, under which Congress provided $350 billion to state, tribal, and local governments. These funds must be spent by December 31, 2026.
States received $195.3 billion of the total. When the money runs out, some governments may face fiscal cliffs—the risk of eliminating or scaling back ongoing programs in education, public safety, or other essential areas—if they do not have alternative funding sources in place. This paper outlines four key policy recommendations that will help states prevent budgetary shortfalls and strengthen long-term fiscal health after the federal cash expires.
The State and Local Budgeting in the COVID Era Issue Paper series builds on the work of previous research efforts to focus on the impact of the pandemic and ensuing recession and recovery on states and localities; explore how budgeting policies of states prior to the pandemic have impacted how well they were able to handle the crisis; identify risks and opportunities within states that will contribute to their ability to successfully recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19; and make recommendations for policy improvements that will contribute to the fiscal sustainability of states.
Beverly S. Bunch is a professor in the School of Public Management and Policy at the University of Illinois Springfield, with a joint appointment in the Center for State Policy and Leadership. Her main research interests are state and local government budgeting and financial management. In 2021 she published an article with Robert Strauss in the Illinois Municipal Policy Journal titled “Green Bonds as an Option for Illinois State and Local Governments.” Since 2016, she has worked with the Volcker Alliance on its Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting project and other issue papers. She previously directed a research project that resulted in a book coauthored with Dalitso S. Sulamoyo, Community Action Leaders: Rooting Out Poverty at the Local Level (Routledge, 2017). Dr. Bunch has a PhD in public policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University and a master of public administration from Syracuse University.
Patricia Byrnes is an Associate Professor in Economics at the University of Illinois Springfield, with a joint appointment in the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies in the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield. Dr. Byrnes’ research interests include local economic development policy, economic impact analysis, and state and local finance. Her research has been published in Economic Development Quarterly, Public Productivity and Management Review, Public Budgeting and Finance, Management Science, National Tax Journal, and Urban Affairs Review. Her current research projects are analysis of state budgeting practices and decisions regarding the use of federal funding to states under the Coronavirus State and Local Government Fiscal Recovery Fund program, empirical investigation of the role of immigration density and diversity on economic growth in cities, and development of a local economy dashboard for cities in Illinois. Dr. Byrnes B.S. degree in Economics and Mathematics from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
William Glasgall is senior director, public finance at the Volcker Alliance, where he has supervised the publication of numerous working papers and studies, including the Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting reports. He is also the creator of the Special Briefing webcast series, coproduced with the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research, where he is a fellow and colead of the Initiative for State and Local Fiscal Stability. Mr. Glasgall serves on the editorial team advisory board for Route Fifty alongside other leading thinkers on state and local governance. Previously, he was managing editor for states and municipalities at Bloomberg News and senior editor at BusinessWeek magazine. He is also a member of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts and a governor of the Overseas Press Club Foundation. A Boston University graduate, he was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University and a DAAD Fellow at the University of Bonn.