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Pandemic adds to budget uncertainties for local governments

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URBANA, Ill. – The current pandemic and related federal and state budget uncertainties have local government officials concerned about potential reductions in intergovernmental revenue. While essential public services and debt payments must continue, the revenue to sustain them is in question.

Local officials will hear updates in a free online University of Illinois Extension webinar at noon, Oct. 29. Register online at

Speakers include Beverly Bunch, public administration professor at University of Illinois, Springfield; Yonghong Wu, public administration professor, University of Chicago; and Arwi Kriz, research scholar, Illinois Institute for Public Finance, University of Illinois, Springfield.

Kriz uses municipal budget data from the State Comptroller’s local government data warehouse to analyze city finances. Kriz has prepared city group profiles based on financial condition, debt levels, and revenue and expenditure structures.

Local property and sales taxes are major sources of revenue for municipal governments in Illinois. "Municipal governments are quite concerned with possible large reductions in revenue production from the two taxes, but substantial uncertainty exists regarding the magnitude of the decline," Wu says.  

Wu will explore the pattern of volatility of municipal property and sales taxes during the recession of 2007 to 2009 and discuss how the two broad-based taxes will likely perform during and after the current COVID pandemic.

Findings of the Volcker Alliance’s Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting study, to be presented by Bunch, will provide strategies the local government officials faced with fiscal challenge.

Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. For reasonable accommodation  to participate, please contact Nancy Ouedraogo at

Speaker Bios:

Beverly Bunch is a professor in the Public Administration Department at University of Illinois Springfield. She teaches public budgeting, intergovernmental relations, and capital budgeting. Her major research expertise is state and local government budgeting and the financing of public infrastructure. She has a doctorate in Public Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University and previously worked for the City of San Antonio and the State of Texas. She has published articles in journals such as the Public Administration Review, Public Budgeting and Finance, and the Municipal Finance Journal.

Arwi Kriz is currently a research fellow in the Institute for Illinois Public Finance (IIPF), University of Illinois-Springfield. Prior to joining IIPF, she was an associate professor for 12 years at Wichita State University and University of Nebraska. Kriz has expertise in public budgeting and finance, fiscal policy, economic growth, and performance measurement. To date, she has published her work in almost 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and two books. She has presented more than 40 papers at national and international academic and professional conferences and secured numerous grant-funded research projects. In addition to her teaching and research experience, Kriz has worked with several state and local governments on consulting projects including the annual revenue forecast for the Omaha; a charitable tax credit analysis for the State of Nebraska; an analysis of the State of Kansas’ tax on groceries; and an analysis of the relationship between arts and cultural activity, creative class, knowledge worker employment, and income growth in Wichita, Kan. Kriz obtained her Doctor of Public Administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield and her Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.   

Yonghong Wu is currently a professor in the Department of Public Administration at University of Illinois at Chicago. Wu’s recent research has focused on state and local fiscal policy-making, municipal public finance issues, and government funding of academic research. He has recently published articles in Local Government Studies, Public Budgeting & Finance, Science and Public Policy, and State and Local Government Review.

SOURCE: Nancy Ouedraogo, Specialist, Community and Economic Development
WRITER: Judy Mae Bingman, Marketing and Communications Manager, Illinois Extension 

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