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Special Briefing

Business & Economics Podcasts

Brought to you by the Volcker Alliance and the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research, Special Briefing examines the fiscal conditions of cities, counties, and states since the arrival of COVID-19 and how they’re impacted by decisions from Washington. We bring federal, state, and local government leaders together with prominent researchers, economists, and investors to reflect on today’s most salient and critical public finance issues. Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR. Special Briefing is made possible by funding from The Century Foundation, the Volcker Alliance, and members of the Penn IUR Advisory Board.

Location:

United States

Description:

Brought to you by the Volcker Alliance and the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research, Special Briefing examines the fiscal conditions of cities, counties, and states since the arrival of COVID-19 and how they’re impacted by decisions from Washington. We bring federal, state, and local government leaders together with prominent researchers, economists, and investors to reflect on today’s most salient and critical public finance issues. Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR. Special Briefing is made possible by funding from The Century Foundation, the Volcker Alliance, and members of the Penn IUR Advisory Board.

Language:

English

Contact:

(646) 343-0155


Episodes
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Special Briefing: State Tax Breaks

7/9/2024
On this episode of Special Briefing, experts discuss the latest Volcker Alliance issue paper, Benefit or Burden: Evaluating $1 Trillion in State Tax Expenditures. The issue paper addresses how US states hand out massive tax breaks every year to advance policy goals, such as aiding low-income families, spurring business investment and job creation, or mirroring the federal tax code. Known broadly as tax expenditures, these exemptions, credits, abatements, and other measures reduce state revenues by an estimated $1 trillion a year, almost three times their 2021 total state expenditures on education. Such tax expenditures, which often suffer from lax government oversight, may be leaving states short on revenue at time when the effects of climate change and the cost of deferred maintenance means that they will need to spend more on infrastructure now and in the decades ahead. Our panel of experts includes one of the issue paper's authors, Matt Fabian, partner, Municipal Market Analytics; as well as Jonathan Ball, legislative fiscal analyst, State of Utah; Tim Bartik, senior economist, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; and Arlene Martinez, deputy executive director, Good Jobs First. Notable Quotes: “We went into this project expecting a mess. It was much worse than that. We're not even advocating for true, actual public disclosure of the information. We just want states to get their arms around what it is they're doing.” - Matt Fabian “I would also make sure that before you massively fund tax breaks, that you fund infrastructure and job training which evidence suggests is more cost effective in creating jobs than some of these tax breaks. States need to fund more programs where community colleges will train workers for companies so they can make sure they have the labor and the real estate they need.” - Tim Bartik “I was a journalist for many years, reporting a lot on local spending and budgets, and I could see what would happen when communities were strapped for cash. The programs that often got cut were often programs that targeted low-income folks or vulnerable people, because they tended to have less of a voice in the process.” - Arlene Martinez Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:53:12

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Special Briefing: Doom Loop or Boom Loop—Work from Home and the Challenges Facing US Cities

6/8/2024
Ever since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US in 2020 led to a surge in people working from home, New York and other big cities have been forced to reckon with the possibility of a Doom Loop scenario of vacant offices and flagging economies. But given the right set of policies, cities can reverse their fortunes and embark upon a path to a Boom Loop of greater productivity and economic growth. Join Special Briefing as the authors of the Volcker Alliance issue paper, Doom Loop or Boom Loop: Work from Home and the Challenges Facing America’s Big Cities, and an expert panel discuss the future economic impacts of remote work. Our panel of experts includes the paper’s authors, David Stanek, vice president, and Richard Voith, founding principal, Econsult Solutions Inc.; as well as Jose Maria Barrero, assistant professor, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico; Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, professor of real estate, Columbia Business School; and Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive officer, Partnership for New York City. Notable Quotes: “Work from home poses a direct and serious challenge in New York City, especially in the commercial office sector and public transportation, but work from home also potentially offers great opportunities for the city.” - Dick Voith “San Francisco is the ‘poster child’ for a difficult post-pandemic recovery, meanwhile Miami has gained upwards of 100,000 jobs since the pandemic.” - David Stanek “Recently, we've asked a series of qualitative questions in our surveys, asking people about returning to the office. What draws them to the office? Many firms said that they've done several big pushes to return to the office, which I think gives you a sense of how difficult it is for certain organizations, especially in knowledge work industries, to bring their people back,” - Jose Maria Barrero “Employers’ real estate commitment to New York City is extremely positive. More than half are committed to at least maintaining their current footprint, more than 30% have actually increased or anticipate increasing their footprint in the next year, and only 10% are looking at reducing their footprint.” - Kathryn Wylde “We need to convert brown offices to green apartments, in a nutshell. Of course, there are both regulatory and financial obstacles to conversion. We've come to the conclusion that roughly 10% of the office stock is readily convertible based on its physical characteristics. In cities like New York or Chicago, where we have an older office stock, that number is probably closer to 30%.” - Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:52:58

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Special Briefing: America’s $900 Billion Water Crisis

5/3/2024
While the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $50 billion to upgrade America’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, much more will be needed to address the nation’s water infrastructure needs amid a changing climate and shifts in population. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the US will need almost $900 billion in water investment over the next twenty years, plus hundreds of billions more for maintenance. These sums will burden federal, state and local budgets but also pose new opportunities—and risks—for investors in water projects. Our panel of experts includes Senator Bill Bradley, former United States Senator, D-NJ; Doug Evanson, executive vice president and chief financial officer, San Antonio Water System; Howard Neukrug, executive director, The Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania; Nicole Lick, senior life scientist, water division, United States Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Region; and Reese Tisdale, president and chief executive officer, Bluefield Research. Notable Quotes: “There was bipartisan support for the infrastructure bill, and so this is a matter of modifying and taking that support and moving into something even more critical than roads and bridges –– our supply of water to areas of the country that don't have it.” - Senator Bill Bradley “It's amazing how much the water industry has changed in the last ten years and certainly 20 to 30 years looking back, but the concept of reusing water, particularly in the West and other parts of the world, is… new… it’s a technology that's growing.” - Howard Neukrug “The VISTA Ridge water supply project [in San Antonio] has been recognized nationally as one of the largest public-private partnerships to be constructed in North America....The project is essential for San Antonio meeting its demand requirements in 2023 and could not have been completed without the public-private partnership structure.” - Doug Evanson “Ever since the Clean Water Act, since 1976, federal funding towards the water sector has shifted away from 15% to 5% now. [That funding gap] has been pushed on the local communities and local governments to address the challenges that they face.” - Reese Tisdale “52 years ago, the Clean Water Act resulted in $200 billion in federal water infrastructure investments over a 10-year period, and that investment was incredibly successful in cleaning up our water.... But it also means that our water infrastructure is aging and nearing the end of its lifespan and requires upgrades or replacement.” - Nicole Lick Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:54:01

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Special Briefing: America’s Hot Growth States

4/5/2024
Western and southern states including Idaho and Florida were among those growing the fastest from the eve of the pandemic in 2019 through 2022. But there were some surprises as well, with Delaware, Maine, and New Jersey also joining the Census Bureau’s hot growth list. While the ability of many Americans to move to low-tax states and work from home played a large role in the population shift, other factors may have been at play as well. Meanwhile, rapid population expansion poses challenges in many of these states as they cope with enlarging school systems, updating infrastructure, and preparing communities for the impact of extreme weather conditions. Our expert panel explores these issues and what they may portend for state and local finances. Our panel of experts includes New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy; Alex Adams, chief budget officer, state of Idaho; Shatakshee Dhongde, professor of economics, Georgia Institute of Technology; Thomas Doe, president, Municipal Market Analytics, Inc.; and Torsten Slok, chief economist, Apollo Global Management. Notable Quotes: “I use two words: talent and location. Historically, when New Jersey invested aggressively in talent and location, it did well –– and when it didn't –– it did poorly. It's really not a political ideology, it's playing the hand that you were dealt.” - Governor Phil Murphy “But the big picture is: tax revenue is still good, and we still have a good economy… with the little caveat that the cost of borrowing will remain elevated, probably for another six-to-nine months.” - Torsten Slok “A lot of [why we’re growing] is that we are a low-regulated state. This is the least regulated state in the country, we're also a low taxation state… we’re stable financially, and then there's all those intangible benefits and tangible benefits as we have access to outdoor recreation, beautiful lakes, mountains, access to skiing –– things that were really rejuvenating for many people during COVID.” - Alex Adams “We talk a lot about pensions, but here in Texas, there are also going to be increased costs because of the changing climate, whether it's the electricity, water, the airport, or highways. You just are taking abuse from extraordinarily volatile weather conditions that are now commonplace.” - Thomas Doe “A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta showed that the Southeast region, which consists of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, grew around 0.2 percentage points per year faster than the United States in most major metrics of economic performance.” - Shatakshee Dhongde Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:42

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Special Briefing: State Tax Cuts

3/9/2024
With their revenues and cash reserves at record highs after unprecedented federal aid to offset the impact of COVID-19, dozens of states embarked on the biggest wave of tax cuts in decades, slashing levies by at least $124 billion on everything from personal income to groceries and gasoline. Tune into this Special Briefing as the authors of the forthcoming Volcker Alliance issue paper, State Tax Cuts after the Pandemic: Strategies to Sustain Fiscal Health, and an expert panel discuss whether these reductions can be sustained as revenues have begun to weaken despite the strong US economy. Our panel of experts includes the paper’s authors Can Chen, associate professor, Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University (GSU), and Alex Hathaway, senior research associate, Center for State and Local Finance at GSU; as well as Geoffrey E. Buswick, managing director and government sector leader, S&P Global Ratings-US Public Finance; and Natalie Cohen, founder and president, National Municipal Research. Notable Quotes: “When governments use one-time budget surpluses for permanent tax cuts, they may face long term budget challenges. This is why we wanted to specifically look at the long term fiscal implications of permanent expansions of tax cuts.” - Can Chen “States that have opted for permanent tax cuts recently could face depleted safety net funds and less generous aid in the future. Our report proposes four strategies that states can consider going forward when they implement future tax reductions.” - Alex Hathaway “As the paper highlights, thanks to a stronger than projected growth across many revenue streams the past few years and the ability to build the reserves to all time levels — typically well above policy — most states passed tax cuts and relief in some form.” - Geoff Buswick “You never know when that black swan event is going to hit, whether it's climate change or some major crisis in the world, geopolitical issues can rear their heads and suddenly put a state on its back foot in terms of revenue changes.” - Natalie Cohen Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:56:34

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Special Briefing: 2024 Fiscal Outlook for States and Cities

2/2/2024
For America’s states and municipalities, 2024 is likely to bring long-awaited relief from inflation and higher interest rates while presenting challenges—and not just because it’s a presidential election year. States, cities, and counties will have to contend with the imminent end of $350 billion in federal pandemic budget aid even as the revenue boom of recent years cools and the need for increased spending to ameliorate the risks of a changing climate put pressure on infrastructure spending. Listen in as our panel of experts discuss strategies that state and local governments are adopting to meet these challenges. Our panel of experts includes Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director, National League of Cities; Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester, Minnesota; Mark Ferrandino, director, Colorado Office of State Planning and Budgeting; Eric Kim, senior director, Fitch Ratings; and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Notable Quotes: “There is a lot on the plates of local leaders, but city leaders are also resilient and optimistic, and they're determined to build their communities back better than ever before, in tandem with their state and federal partners.” - Clarence Anthony “Obviously, there are lots of risks… there are things that can go off the rails, but I will say that for the first time in a long time, the risks are more symmetric.” - Mark Zandi “We're a town of about 124,000 people and we’re home in Minnesota to the state's largest employer, which is the Mayo Clinic, and we are pleased to say that our local economy has rebounded fairly well from the pandemic.” - Mayor Kim Norton “We definitely see some headwinds in terms of revenue for the next year, but long term, we see continued growth. We also see the demand on those revenues and the demand on the state government to just continue to grow.” - Mark Ferrandino “In December, our economics team published its quarterly global economic outlook. And as we were just talking about, 2023 was a surprisingly good year. So good, in fact, that Fitch took off its recession forecast for 2024 in our last update, [and] we were one of those many in the consensus that we're expecting a recession, but we've pulled back on that.” - Eric Kim Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:57:34

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Special Briefing: Public Pensions - Still a Crisis?

12/12/2023
Many states, counties, and cities emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession with record cash reserves following the US government’s injection of $5 trillion to revive the economy and prop up local government budgets. But even after the unprecedented federal support, states and municipalities have been left with more than $1.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities for public employee pension benefits that were promised but are not fully funded. Join our panel of experts as they discuss strategies that state and local governments are adopting to reduce this pension burden and whether they may have to reduce spending for education, infrastructure, and other critical public services to make room for increasing retirement contributions. Our panel of experts includes Liz Farmer, public finance journalist and co-host of the Public Money podcast; Vedanta Goenka, senior municipal strategist, Citigroup; Merl Hackbart, professor emeritus, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Kentucky; Shoaib Khan, director, New Jersey Treasury Division of Investment; Anthony Randazzo, executive director, Equable Institute; and Les Richmond, vice president and actuary, Build America Mutual. Notable Quotes: “We have a target of approximately 30% of the [pension] portfolio to alternative asset classes,” - Shoaib Khan. “Our top assessment from a 50 state review of data is that funding strategies for public plans have significantly improved whether we look at the last five years or the last 15 years,” - Anthony Randazzo “As far as pension funding is concerned, we–– as Anthony mentioned –– have seen a tremendous improvement in ratios since the pandemic,” - Vedanta Goenka “The adjustments that state and local governments have made to their pension systems in response to pension system concerns, such as adjusting benefits, supplemental funding, and ensuring contributions are meeting their requirements, has demonstrated a commitment to take actions to ensure the sustainability of pension systems,” - Merl Hackbart "So, you might have neighboring towns that have very similar pension profiles — one is carrying a high amount of debt, one is carrying a little amount of debt — I would say the one with a little amount of debt is in much better shape. So it calls for granular analysis [if] we're going to answer the question if pensions are still in crisis.” - Les Richmond “In a lot of places, [pensions are] still very much an issue, but in terms of the national conversation, pensions have definitely kind of taken a step back.” - Liz Farmer Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:47

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Special Briefing: Rolling Out the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act—What’s Being Built and What’s in the Pipeline

10/31/2023
The Volcker Alliance and Penn Institute for Urban Research invite you to join an online Special Briefing on how the rollout of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is proceeding. A critical part of legislation passed by Congress to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance the durability and sustainability of the nation’s infrastructure, the bipartisan deal promises thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars for roads, bridges, public transportation, water systems, and broadband access. Through July, the value of highway and bridge construction work was running 24 percent ahead of the 2020-21 pace, American Road & Transportation Builders data show. But there are bottlenecks as well, and the process of applying for federal grants is confusing, especially for smaller governments. Our panel of experts will sort this out and explain where infrastructure construction is headed. Our panel of experts will include Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR); Samantha Silverberg, deputy infrastructure implementation coordinator at The White House; Alison Premo Black, senior vice president and chief economist, American Road & Transportation Builders Association; and Leah Brooks, professor, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University; Jessica Jennings, legislative director for transportation and infrastructure, National Association of Counties; and Vikram Rai, lead strategist, Wells Fargo municipal division. Notable Quotes: “This is the first time we have a commitment unequivocally to be able to rebuild and renew America. It's a refreshing change and an opportunity for us,” Representative Earl Blumenauer. “The IIJA, or the bipartisan infrastructure law as we call it, is a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation's infrastructure,” Samantha Silverberg. “I can tell you from a market standpoint, for the transportation sector, we're absolutely seeing that program have a very big market impact,” Alison Premo Black. “Most of America's roads are in rural areas, and 70% of counties are rural. We experienced all kinds of challenges when it comes to our small counties. And the biggest one really is our capacity,” Jessica Jennings. “Infrastructure costs more in the U.S. than it does in almost any other country in the world. And you might not be surprised that it costs more in the U.S. than it does in developing countries like China. But you might be surprised to hear that it costs the U.S. substantially more than other countries like Germany or Australia, countries that we think actually have a full suite of environmental protections in the same way that we would like to,” Leah Brooks. “The IIJA aims to put more transportation infrastructure by public-private partnerships. It does so by doubling the amount of availability with the objective to increase P3 (public-private partnerships) funding,” Vikram Rai. Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:26

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Special Briefing: Recession? Soft Landing? … Impact on States and Cities

9/29/2023
The Volcker Alliance and Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) invite you to join an online Special Briefing focusing on whether Federal Reserve moves to slow inflation may result in a recession or soft landing in coming months and how states and localities may be impacted. Our panel of experts includes Zac Jackson, Indiana budget director; Eric Kim, senior director, Fitch Ratings; Torsten Slok, chief economist, Apollo Global Management; Matthew Stitt, director and national lead for equitable recovery and strategic financial initiatives, PFM’s Management and Budget Consulting team, and former CFO, Philadelphia City Council; and Kate Watkins, president and chief economist, Bright Fox Analytics, and former chief economist, Colorado state legislature's Legislative Council Staff. Notable Quotes: “We are seeing delinquency rates going up on credit cards, and auto loans for consumers, and we are seeing default rates going up for high yield companies that are highly leveraged, but we’re still not quite seeing any significant slowdown in the broader economic data.” - Torsten Slok “Regardless of recession or not, there are some important implications for state and local governments when it comes to our revenue streams…” - Kate Watkins “Fitch’s view is that state governments as a whole are in a relatively strong fiscal position because tax collections have been just extraordinary…” - Eric Kim “We took a very responsible approach when it came to using our stimulus funds in order to avoid building fiscal cliffs down the road where the state would have to supplant that one time federal money with ongoing state dollars.” - Zac Jackson “I think when cities are really thinking about their budgets, they're always trying to look ahead to take care of your core expenses, your core services...” - Matt Stitt Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:53:42

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Special Briefing: The Future of Mass Transportation as US Pandemic Aid Nears an End

8/8/2023
The panel discusses the outlook for mass transportation across the US amid waning federal pandemic emergency aid and lagging ridership as metropolitan area commuters continue to work from home. This episode includes a remembrance of our great friend and colleague, Richard Ravitch, the former New York State lieutenant governor, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, Volcker Alliance director, and tireless advocate for fiscally sustainable state and local budgeting, who passed away on June 25. Our panel of experts includes Janno Lieber, chair and chief executive officer, Metropolitan Transportation Authority; former US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx; Kurt Forsgren, managing director and sector lead for transportation in US Public Finance at S&P Global; Frank Jimenez, senior fiscal policy analyst, California Legislative Analyst's Office; and Leslie Richards, general manager and chief executive officer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Notable Quotes: “I made the case that it was insane for New York [to not receive funding to avert a fiscal cliff], when 85% of our commuters use mass transit. It was an intense equity issue.” - Janno Lieber “What is clear in the post-COVID era is that the critical role that transit plays is not going to change. We have to rethink how we make decisions. We know that cities, regions and transit are intrinsically related – we know that our futures are tied together; that the stronger a transit system is, the stronger the region it operates in is as well.” - Leslie Richards “Ultimately in the final budget package, the legislature provided $5.1 billion to support transit agencies across the state over a four-year period. This funding is on top of the state’s baseline funding which supports transit agencies and is funded by fuel taxes and vehicle fees.” - Frank Jimenez “Whether that is in the form of sales taxes, or as New York has done with congestion pricing, I think we’re going to have to look at new ways to generate income from local and state sources to support our transit systems.” - Anthony Foxx “Even for transit agencies where we have sales tax or other forms of tax that make up the bulk of revenues, we felt like the ridership loss is likely to impact their operating funds and have ripple effects across their enterprise.” - Kurt Forsgren Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:37

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Special Briefing: The Debt Ceiling Deal and its Impact on the US Economy, States, and Municipalities

6/29/2023
The panel of experts discusses the fallout for the US economy, states, and municipalities from the recent deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. Our panel of experts includes Matt Fabian, partner, Municipal Market Analytics; Marcia Howard, executive director, Federal Funds Information for States; Annie Linskey, white house reporter, the Wall Street Journal; Vikram Rai, managing director and head of the municipal strategy group, Citigroup; and Torsten Slok, chief economist, Apollo Global Management. Notable Quotes: “The problem that this debt crisis identified is that talking about cutting spending has revealed a field of landmines, even for Republicans who got to office to cut spending, and find themselves now unable to… If we can’t cut spending, we have to raise taxes to make up for that spending” - Matt Fabian “The way to avoid [future debt ceiling crises] is to have Congress change the law they created in the first place, that requires this debt ceiling dance every few years...” - Annie Linskey “This drama is going to play out again in 2025… Once the US debt defaults, it will set a very unhealthy precedent.” - Vikram Rai “From the financial market perspective, [the debt ceiling debate] is something that is self-inflicted, and something that obviously is creating a lot of volatility…” - Torsten Slok “While we believed that the original legislation paved the way for a very smooth process with incentives to get things done, now we’ve come to believe that recent developments have unraveled that agreement, and that the months ahead are going to be very perilous, complicated, and politically fraught.” - Marcia Howard Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:58:20

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Special Briefing: Avoiding Municipal Distress

6/1/2023
While the US unemployment rate is near a record low and $5 trillion in federal pandemic aid continuing to support the economy, American cities are enjoying healthy budget surpluses as COVID-19 recedes. But many of the underlying contributors to municipal distress and bankruptcy in the 2010s—underfunded pensions, deteriorating infrastructure, and population loss among them—still pose threats to many cities’ long-term fiscal health. Our panel of experts includes Rob Dubow, director of finance, City of Philadelphia; Heather Gillers, reporter, the Wall Street Journal; Stephanie Miner, former mayor, Syracuse, New York, and director, the Volcker Alliance; Richard Ravitch, former lieutenant governor, New York, and director, the Volcker Alliance; and David Schleicher, professor, Yale Law School. Notable Quotes: “Things could have been much much worse with that ARP funding. We would have had to make even more painful cuts, and those cuts would have been not only bad for the city, but bad for the entire region because we are the economic engine for the region.” - Rob Dubow “You have this pretty significant expense as Chicago and other cities start to go and weather this next period where you have a possible recession. You have the impact of remote work on city revenues, you have the expiration of the federal stimulus aid that was handed out during COVID. So that’s sort of a new chapter in a lot of ways.” - Heather Gillers “Have the same crises facing them once again. And they’re the crisis of, whether you say legacy costs or unfunded liabilities, both pensions and something that nobody really wants to talk about because it is so hugely immense, which is retiree health care. When I was facing this after the Great Recession, Dick Ravich said to me, ‘Kid, it’s not that hard. You either have to cut your expenses or increase your revenues. That’s how you balance a budget.’ But of course, it is extremely difficult.” - Stephanie Miner “We’ve been living through this period of flush state and local budgets, and we’re about to see a real turn. We can use that to look forward, but we can also use that to look backward to say, ‘How good of a boom did we have, and how does that set us up for the coming difficulties?’” - David Schleicher Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:54:24

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Special Briefing: Managing Growth in America's Hottest States, Counties & Cities

5/12/2023
America’s hottest growth cities and states are facing challenges as they deploy resources to handle the recent pickup of domestic and international immigration to the South and West. US Census data show that Texas and Florida showed a net gain of almost 1 million residents in 2022; they and the rest of the ten fastest-growing states added a total of 1.6 million people. Will this influx help keep these states out of recession? What are the budgetary demands on infrastructure, housing, public safety, education, and the environment, and how will governments tap into recent federal infrastructure legislation? Our panel of experts includes Mayor Steve Adler, former mayor, Austin, Texas; Alex Adams, budget director, Idaho; Matthew D. Chase, chief executive officer and executive director, National Association of Counties; Darryl Martin, county administrator, Dallas County, Texas; and Anna Roach, chief executive officer and executive director, Atlanta Regional Commission. Notable Quotes: “What our approach has been is to assume that a lot of it is one time in nature, so our revenue forecast projects that we’ll have about $5.5 billion in ongoing revenue and we’ve structured our ongoing expenses at $5.1 billion.” - Alex Adams “We built more houses per capita last year than any city in the country and it still wasn’t enough. We’re going to have to do a better job with the land development codes so that we can build more densely and higher in our main community areas within the city.” - Mayor Steve Adler “What we’re also finding is the areas of the country that are really growing tend to be the suburban or exurban areas around these major metropolitan areas. And we’re really starting to see real tension between deploying new clean energy, like solar and wind farms, versus housing development versus agricultural land.” - Matt Chase “We’ve seen a 4% reduction in homelessness this year but we are experiencing an increase in homelessness among our veterans, our youth and our families which I believe is due in part due to the housing affordability crisis.” - Darryl Martin “We are doing innovative things like developing a new concept called Aerotropolis Atlanta that has been successful and has been in the works for many years and it’s been in operation for several years.” - Anna Roach Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:09

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Special Briefing: Revitalizing Downtowns by Turning Offices Into Homes

4/28/2023
With working from home persisting even as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, our panel of experts discuss how to attract more people back to center cities, and the keys to increasing street life, bolstering commerce, and preventing further losses in municipal property and sales tax revenues. Our panel of experts includes Maria Torres-Springer, New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development; Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore professor of real estate and professor of finance, Columbia University's Graduate School of Business; Amy Cotter, director of climate strategies, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; and Heather Long, columnist and Editorial Board member, Washington Post. Notable Quotes: “We have to build together. This is the type of work that no one level of government and no one sector of the economy can do alone. It is a model for what public-private partnership needs to look like and it’s what’s needed given the crises that we are facing in the city.” - Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer “Make no mistake: This is a win-win for the public and private sector. We turn the corner and start building much-needed housing. At the same time, the government will generate a lot more tax revenue from this because the tax revenue is going to be falling dramatically from these old office buildings that are losing value.” - Stijn Van Niewwerburgh “It is not too soon for any central business district to start thinking about how it responds to a decline in their office market. And I would suggest that the first thing they can do is to avoid deterioration and further destabilization of the districts in which there is a preponderance of office uses.” - Amy Cotter “We have written that we think this is generally a good plan, however, it’s going to be very very tough in the interest rate environment that we are in and given the vast need of buildings that need to be converted to achieve all of those end goals.” - Heather Long Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:01

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Special Briefing: State and Local Budgets in Uncertain Times

2/28/2023
As governors and mayors announce their spending plans for fiscal 2024, the panel of experts discuss state and local budgets in uncertain times. Our panel of experts includes Shelby Kerns, executive director, National Association of State Budget Officers; Eric Kim, senior director, Fitch Ratings; Lauren Larson, director, Colorado Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting; and Gabriel Petek, legislative analyst, State of California. Notable Quotes: Notable Quotes: “People only think about the impact on state budgets when we are facing a recession, when it’s getting closer, when the risks are getting higher; I can assure you that state budget officers are always thinking about it. They’re always planning for it.” - Shelby Kerns “We think states are well positioned for volatility. After the Great Recession states really had more than a decade to recover and learn the lessons about revenue forecasting and building up fiscal resilience. I think for the most part, they took that to heart and came into the pandemic with a solid set of tools to manage volatility.” - Eric Kim “This is a really exciting time in Colorado. Our revenues last year were up 24% and as a benchmark, we are measuring our trendline from pre-pandemic and we are exceeding our pre-pandemic trend line....” - Lauren Larson “But I do want to be clear: Our office is not saying that the state should never use reserves. If after solving the level of deficit that we estimate the problem has gotten worse or the economy is going into a recession, we would say that that is the time to use reserves and it would be warranted at that point.” - Gabe Petek Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:13

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Special Briefing: The Future of Downtowns

1/27/2023
The panel of experts discuss the future of downtowns in American cities as office vacancy numbers remain high and public transportation usage remains low. Our panel of experts includes Howard Cure, director of municipal bond research, Evercore Wealth Management; Steven J. Davis, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, and professor of business and economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Tracy Hadden Loh, fellow, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking, Brookings Metro; Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore professor of real estate and professor of finance, Columbia University's Graduate School of Business; and Romy Varghese, politics editor, Bloomberg News. Notable Quotes: “There’s no one-size-fits-all problem or solution. In some cities and regions, these losses are quite urgent, and are yielding fiscal and operational crises in the very near term. In others, these impacts may take years to fully manifest, in part due to one-time federal financial aid.” - Tracy Hadden Loh “Now there is widespread acceptance that remote work is here to stay and now they’re [city officials] focusing on different ways to bring people back into the downtown…It is going to take a really long time for these recommendations [to attract businesses] to be implemented and it’s really going to take a change in mindset because for so long, business came to San Francisco.” - Romy Varghese “The stakes are higher now than they were before the pandemic with respect to getting the right mix of the right local policies. Cities that get it right, either by virtue of a well-functioning political system or just being endowed with amenities that people value – those cities are well-positioned to benefit from the shift to work-from-home.” - Steven J. Davis “In the long run we are sort of going through this revolutionary change, which will take decades to play out and which will basically call for a major reallocation of space away from office to residential.” - Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh “You have a number of vacancies, you’re having turnover come in, and because of that, I think you really have to pay attention to the people who are applying and the quality of the people applying for these jobs.” - Howard Cure Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:59:01

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Special Briefing: 2023 Outlook for States and Cities

12/23/2022
The panel of experts discuss issues including inflation, employment, housing, jobs, and the possibility of a recession, as we look towards the new year. Our panel of experts includes Mayor Kate Gallego, Mayor of the City of Phoenix, Arizona; Emily Brock, director, Federal Liaison Office, Government Finance Officers Association; Natalie Cohen, president and founder, National Municipal Research; Julia Coronado, president, MacroPolicy Perspectives and clinical associate professor of finance, McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin; and Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics. Notable Quotes: “I've been serving as mayor since 2019, so COVID hit at the tail end of my first year. We then went into a very deep and very short recession and came out when Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) made a major announcement, our largest in city history that might be familiar to folks because President Biden was in Phoenix last week to celebrate TSMC.” - Mayor Kate Gallego “The inflation numbers we've been getting, particularly one we got for the month of November, a couple of days ago, are pretty, pretty good. It feels like we're moving into the right direction.” - Mark Zandi “Historically, when the Fed is raising interest rates, [it is] usually sooner or later in a recession. And so we are on that side of the cycle. The easing of policy, the support from fiscal and monetary policy is behind us now. We are seeing policy tighten on both fronts. It’s a small sample and there's been a lot of unusual elements to this cycle.” - Julia Coronado “Now, on the prospect for the 118th Congress, which starts in January, obviously we have a split Congress. What some people negatively characterize is gridlock. We might actually positively characterize gridlock in the form of a calming down.” - Emily Brock “The bottom line is in pretty good health across the board. On the revenue side, inflation actually on a nominal basis serves well on the sales tax side. On the property tax side, on the income tax side, and certainly also in the energy sphere on severance taxes. So those areas, again, it's nominal.” - Natalie Cohen Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:55:53

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Special Briefing: Big Cities, Big Challenges

11/30/2022
The panelists discuss how Inflation has yet to be controlled, recession is looming, federal COVID-19 budgetary aid will soon expire, and working from home is decreasing demand for Center City businesses. What can be done? Our panel of experts includes Greg David, director, business and economics reporting program, City University of New York Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, and a contributor to The City, covering fiscal and economic issues; Shirley Clarke Franklin, former mayor, Atlanta, Georgia, and director, The Volcker Alliance; Heather Gillers, reporter, the Wall Street Journal; and Farhad Omeyr, program director of research and data, National League of Cities. Notable Quotes: “We observe that governments that rely heavily on only property taxes for their general-purpose expenditures, saw less turbulence in their budgeting after the shutdown of the economy because property taxes were inelastic, relatively speaking.” - Farhad Omeyr “When I moved to Atlanta 50 years ago, the metropolitan area was 1 million people, and the state was 4 million. Today the metropolitan area is close to 6 million. The infrastructure that is needed to support a healthy community and healthy economy has really not kept pace.” - Sharley Clarke Franklin “All the contracts with our unions either have expired or the last view will expire in the next month or two. We could get short term contracts instead of four- and five-year contracts. We could get contracts with reopeners, we could get one one-time upfront payments, because after all, we don't know if inflation is going to continue at this rate.” - Greg David “Longtime Mayor Richard Daley underfunded the pension plans, just set aside far less money than really needed to be in those pension funds to meet future obligations.” - Heather Gillers Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:54:00

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Special Briefing on the Inflation Reduction Act: Investment Opportunities and Challenges

10/31/2022
The panelists discuss the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on state and local budgets, focusing on the opportunities and challenges that are on the road ahead. Our panel of experts included Ben Beachy, vice president of manufacturing and industrial policy, BlueGreen Alliance; Sarah Gimont, associate legislative director for environment, energy and land use policy, National Association of Counties; Justin Marlowe, research professor, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy; and Richard Prisinzano, director of policy analysis, Penn Wharton Budget Model, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Notable Quotes: “This win-win approach to climate change that we see here is a rebirth of the US industrial policy.” - Ben Beachy "The funding provided in the law is really going to be beneficial for community and economic development, areas in which counties play a critical role." - Sarah Gimont "It creates all sorts of interesting and creative opportunities for states and localities and public utilities and pension plans and potentially even nonprofits foundations, other ways to get directly involved." - Justin Marlowe "Our modeling and analysis basically says it has no meaningful effect on inflation, either increasing or decreasing." - Richard Prisinzano Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:52:14

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Stagflation Ahead? Inflation and Recession

9/15/2022
The panelists discuss the latest figures on inflation released on quarter 3 of 2022, and analyze the likelihood of stagflation and recession as these inflationary pressures continue to impact the US economy as well as the outlook for states and municipalities and their budgets. Our panel of experts includes Alison Premo Black, senior vice president and chief economist, American Road & Transportation Builders Association; Beth Ann Bovino, US chief economist and managing director, S&P Global Ratings; Hughey Newsome, chief financial officer, Wayne County, Michigan; Gabriel Petek, legislative analyst, State of California; and Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics. Notable Quotes: “I don't see recession [in the] next six months or the next nine months, but now I have a 50/50 outlook by the latter part of 2023 going into 2024.” - Mark Zandi “There's no question that in terms of infrastructure investment, there are a couple of things that the industry has been dealing with in terms of those construction projects. There's no doubt the increase in prices is definitely impacting [projects] as well as material availability.” - Alison Premo Black “Our judgment was that historically speaking, it's been difficult for the Fed to navigate a soft landing when you have such a situation,” - Gabriel Petek “We've been able to kind of store some nuts away for the winter; that was somewhat on purpose but also somewhat on accident,” - Hughey Newsome Be sure to subscribe to Special Briefing to stay up to date on the world of public finance. Learn more about the Volcker Alliance at: volckeralliance.org Learn more about Penn IUR at: penniur.upenn.edu Connect with us @VolckerAlliance and @PennIUR on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Special Briefing is published by the Volcker Alliance, as part of its Public Finance initiatives, and Penn IUR. The views expressed on this podcast are those of the panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Volcker Alliance or Penn IUR.

Duration:00:51:43