Financing Public Services
CONTENT: This course introduces students to the key concepts and techniques to successfully plan, finance, and evaluate investments in public services and facilities. The class will focus on state and local governments, but the role of federal policy and finance in specific areas of state and local budgeting will be studied. Part of the learning process in the class will involve the application of theoretical concepts to a number of crucial issues confronting state and local governments as they plan for, and attempt to manage, urban growth and change.
In the first part of the course, we will briefly review theories concerning the role of the pubic sector in advanced market economies. The second section will involve a study of local budgetary institutions, needs assessment frameworks and budget formulation and management systems. We will emphasize strategic planning and budgeting models as means to improve the quality and efficiency of public service and infrastructure provision. In the third part of the course, we will study the characteristics of local tax revenue sources and the shifting of resources and burdens among different levels of government. The fourth section will focus on capital improvement budgeting and state and local debt finance and administration. In the final segment, we will focus on urban growth and change and the specific institutional, tax and financial challenges associated with managing growth and supporting more sustainable development paths.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students are expected to do all of the assigned readings and participate in class discussions. Students will be evaluated on the basis of five assignments and overall class participation:
- Three class assignments - 30% of final grade (each assignment 10%),
- Midterm exam - (10-12 typed pages) - 30% of final grade.
- Final exam (10-12 typed pages) - 30% of final grade.
- Class participation - 10% of final grade