Penn IUR Launches New Public Finance Website

For the past year, I have been helping the Penn Institute for Urban Research develop a new website to serve as a repository for news, analysis, and data regarding state and local public finance, with a particular focus on underfunded pension liabilities. I am happy to announce that the website is now available for the public to access at

Below is the official press release with more information:

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) announces the launch of State & Local Public Finance Links, an online resource for planners, policymakers, researchers, and citizens to access information and expert analyses about state and local public finance in the United States.

“While many excellent resources on public finance exist across the internet and throughout academia, this website is the first attempt to bring them all together into a one-stop shop, hopefully making it easier to become informed and make progress on the difficult issues involved in local fiscal finance solvency,” said Penn IUR Co-Director Susan Wachter.

As a central repository of research, news, data, and expert analysis on state and local public finance, State & Local Public Finance Links contains news articles, research publications and reports from expert researchers and public finance organizations. While the site touches on many aspects of public finance, the resources focus on the financial challenges state and local governments face and on solutions that localities find for these challenges.

Many U.S. states and localities have wrestled with the problem of planning for their future funding needs for decades, and the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s exacerbated the problem significantly across the country. Since then, budgets have become more constrained. Meanwhile, the Baby Boomer generation is retiring and living longer than any previous generation, making future funding streams more consequential than ever before.

In light of this landscape, Penn IUR hopes that this new website will be a resource not only to local governments’ policymakers and planners, but also to citizens trying to plan for their futures. “It is difficult for most Americans to easily access the data and expertise necessary to compare across states and localities and project their funding needs into the future,” said Wachter. “By bringing these resources into one library, we can make public finance more transparent and therefore, hopefully, more sustainable.”

The State & Local Public Finance Links website is made possible by the support of Penn IUR’s board of advisers, and is updated monthly by Penn IUR with input from a variety of experts and stakeholders. The website can be accessed at

About Penn IUR

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels. Penn IUR focuses on research that informs the sustainable and inclusive twenty-first-century city. By providing a forum for collaborative scholarship and instruction at Penn and beyond, Penn IUR stimulates research and engages with urban practitioners and policymakers to inform urban policy.