The Center for Municipal Finance (CMF) enables students and faculty to engage the major financial issues of the day facing state and local governments in the United States and around the globe. Some of the topical and enduring issues of municipal finance include financing infrastructure, the use of municipal bonds, privatization, pension liabilities and the efficacy of reform, tax base adequacy, and more.
“We need to rethink the practices and techniques of contemporary municipal finance to provide government services more efficiently and to manage pressing problems related to the public sector,” said Harris Professor Christopher Berry, who directs the CMF.
Bob Holden, former Governor of Missouri, was the Center for Municipal Finance's Executive-in-Residence January 17-19, 2017. While at Harris Governor Holden gave three lunchtime lectures.
After the 2016 election, Professor Chris Berry joined Natalie Cohen, managing director and head of municipal securities research–senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, and Joe Mysak, editor of the daily Bloomberg Brief, “Municipal Market,” Bloomberg News, to discuss results and the municipal market outlook.
The Center for Municipal Finance hosted a series of conversations with Richard Ryffel, president of the Normandy Schools Collaborative, an urban school district under state academic and financial oversight that serves Ferguson, Missouri.
Michael D. Belsky is the Executive Director of the Center for Municipal Finance at Harris and teaches a course on the fundamentals of municipal bonds as part of the Municipal Finance Certificate Program. Mr.
Gain in-depth expertise in the process, politics and economics of public revenue and expenditure decisions. Learn the practices and techniques of modern financial administration, and the operation of the municipal securities market.
Christopher Berry's research interests are in the political economy of American local government and the politics of federal spending. Full Bio
Michael D. Belsky has worked in the municipal finance industry for more than three decades. He spent most of his career as group managing director of the Public Finance Group at Fitch Ratings. He also served two terms as a member of the City Council in Highland Park, Illinois (1995–2003) and two terms as mayor (2003–2011). Full Bio
Prior to joining the Center for Municipal Finance, Amanda Kass was the research director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago.
Paula R. Worthington has served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as a research officer, economic advisor, and senior research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Full Bio
The Center for Municipal Finance will fund academic research projects that bring innovative ideas and approaches to state and local government finance. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to: state and local taxation, public sector pensions, the municipal bond market, infrastructure, and the politics of public finance. Preference will be given to projects with the potential to influence public policy.
Two to three grants of up to $50,000 each will be awarded in 2016. Funding is for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second year.
The RFP is open to researchers in public policy, economics, political science, sociology, law, and related disciplines. Applicants must have completed a PhD or JD and hold an academic appointment at a US college or university.
Applicants should submit the following: (a) one-to-two-page proposal summarizing the project idea, methodology, outputs, and impact; (b) budget (grant funds cannot be used for indirect costs); and (c) current CV of the principal investigator(s). Review of applications will begin on October 31, 2016. Finalists will be asked for an expanded proposal of not more than five pages.
Assistant Director, Center for Municipal Financeakass1@uchicago.edu
12.06.2016 The Bond Buyer reports that the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy named former Chicago chief financial officer Lois Scott as the inaugural chair of the advisory board that oversees its expanding Center for Municipal Finance. Read more
11.21.2016 Crain's Chicago Business highlighted that former Chicago CFO Lois Scott has been named the inaugural chair of the Center for Municipal Finance's advisory board Read more
09.20.2016 Amanda Kass, Assistant Director of the Center for Municipal Finance, examines the causes of Illinois' pension crisis via Tax Analysts Read more
08.09.2016 Michael Belsky to start as inaugural executive director of the Center for Municipal Finance August 1 via Chicago Tribune Read more
08.05.2016 What's Up with Former Highland Park Mayor? via Daily North Shore Read more
08.02.2016 Former Highland Park Mayor Supports PACE Legislation in Illinois Read more
07.26.2016 Former Highland Park Mayor Belsky to Head Center for Municipal Finance at University of Chicago via Highland Park Patch Read more
07.14.2016 Michael Belsky calls the Lincoln-Way HS District's financial practices "troubled" via Chicago Tribune Read more
06.14.2016 Michael Belsky on the risks a local school district assumed by borrowing on the assumption of sustained growth via Chicago Tribune Read more
05.06.2016 Associate Prof. Chris Berry on whether Detroit's bankruptcy plan could serve as a model for other Rust Belt cities via Bloomberg BNA Read more
03.07.2016 Associate Prof. Chris Berry on the proliferation of special districts in the U.S. via Last Week Tonight with John Oliver See the clip
05.19.2016 Michael Belsky on why Chicago must increase taxes via Chicago Sun-Times Read more
10.30.2016 Voters in Illinois approved a new provision to the Illinois Constitution, the “Lockbox Amendment,” this past election. The Center for Municipal Finance's commentary,
examines the potential fiscal consequences of the proposed amendment. The CMF's commentary has been cited by Capitol Fax, Crain's Chicago Business, The Bond Buyer, Chicago Sun-Times, Pantagraph, Chicago magazine, and DNAinfo.