Redefine the Fiscal Problem: A Community-Centered View


Oregon’s financial health is typically viewed through the lens of state government. We shift our focus to assess the financial health and stresses of communities in every part of the state, with a look at what those shortfalls might mean for families, economic opportunity, and business vitality in those regions.

  • Impacts are likely to fall most heavily on people who are low income, rural, indigenous, African American, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, people with disabilities and the elderly. 

  • Impacts are likely to distress opportunities for business growth, entrepreneurship and job security, particularly in rural areas. 

Our research focuses on local governments and the communities they serve. However, local governments do not operate in isolation. State and federal governments provide sizable shares of their revenue and, in cases like pension policy, state policymakers set program rules that determine local government expenditures.

An analysis of fiscal health at the local level necessarily requires an under-standing of fiscal conditions at the state and federal levels, as well. And, consequently, communities that aspire to have productive schools, safe neighborhoods, uncongested roads, and well-maintained parks must take a broad view and consider all the interconnected, intergovernmental issues that affect their abilities to deliver public services.

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