Volcker Alliance Launches the Richard Ravitch Public Finance Initiative


On January 12, the Volcker Alliance, in cooperation with the Milken Institute, National Academy for Public Administration, Penn Institute for Urban Research, and Pew Charitable Trusts, convened congressional and executive branch leaders, economists, and academics for the Richard Ravitch Public Finance Initiative Symposium. Their discussion focused on how states and localities can prepare for financial downturns–including a looming recession–through planning and preventative action; examining vulnerabilities in state and local budgets and bond markets; and exploring how federal and state governments can work together to find solutions to the nation’s most pressing public finance challenges.  

The symposium marked the launch of the Richard Ravitch Public Finance Initiative, founded by former New York State Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch, which seeks to promote federal strategies that advance fiscal sustainability at all levels of government as well as train and educate Congressional and Executive Branch leaders about the need for greater oversight of state and local budgets and finances. The Initiative intends to play a key role in catalyzing federal action to improve state and local budget practices that present looming risks to the federal system and economy.  

Members of the US House of Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) delivered keynote addresses and participated in panel discussions. Other notable speakers included New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; Shelby Kerns, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers; Fritzroy Lee, deputy chief financial officer of Washington, DC; Vikram Rai, head of Citi’s Municipal Strategy Group; Joel Black, chair of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board; Emily S. Brock, director of the Federal Liaison Center, Government Finance Officers Association; and Mark Kim, president and chief executive officer of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.