The Public Money Pod

Each year, state and local governments spend $4 trillion dollars.

You may be asking yourself: Where does that money come from? Where does it go? Who manages it? And what do taxpayers have to show for it?

In the newly debuted Public Money Pod, the Center for Municipal Finance attempts to answer those questions and more, and provides perspective on the budgets, bonds, and bureaucrats at the heart of state and local public finance. 

“Though it may seem byzantine to most people, public finance plays an outsized role in the lives of residents across the country,” said Justin Marlowe, a research professor at Harris and cohost of the new podcast. “Property tax levies, grant applications, the bond market, public-private partnerships – the different ways that our governments fund the infrastructure, services, and programs that people rely on are varied. And they feature all kinds of practices, quirks, and sometimes bizarre decision-making processes that can have major repercussions for Americans. Together, we’ll delve into all of it – and try to answer some of the most pressing questions along the way.”

Research Professor Justin Marlowe is co-hosting the new podcast.

Marlowe’s research examines public capital markets, infrastructure finance, state and local budgeting, and financial. In addition to his role at the Center for Municipal Finance, Marlowe currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Public Budgeting & Finance, a peer-reviewed academic journal. 

The show is co-hosted by Liz Farmer, a fiscal policy expert and award-winning journalist, who writes about the many ways state and local governments spend our taxpayer money. Her areas of expertise include budgets, fiscal distress, tax policy and pensions. Her Long Story Short newsletter is among the industry’s must-reads.

Farmer and Marlowe kick off each episode of the Public Money Pod by exploring what recent news reporting and academic research can tell us about a particular issue in public finance. The two hosts are then joined by a guest, often a practitioner from the world of public finance, who discusses what they see playing out in their individual role and the policymaking arena more broadly.  Each episode wraps with Extra Credit, a segment where the two hosts answer a listener question. 

The first episode features Emily Brock from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and deals with the implications for state and local governments of the Inflation Reduction Act. It also takes a closer look at the Notice of Proposed Funding Opportunities (NOFO), which specifies how $42.25 billion of funds will be allocated to the states, what types of services will be eligible to receive subsidies, and how the states should go about distributing funds. Brock and the hosts joke about #NOFO-FOMO, explaining that no one wants to miss out on the chance to tap into this rare funding opportunity. 

Professor Christopher Berry

“I’m very excited to see the Center for Municipal Finance facilitating discourse in new and innovative ways with Justin and Liz’s new podcast,” said Professor Christopher Berry, the faculty director of the Center for Municipal Finance. “Justin and Liz are two to the brightest minds in the field and they will provide fresh ways of thinking about the public sector and allow more people to engage with the major financial issues facing state and local governments today.”

The Public Money Pod is funded by Cumberland Advisors, Build America Mutual (BAM), and the GFOA. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

The Public Money Pod is the second faculty-led podcast from the Harris School of Public Policy. Not Another Politics Podcast debuted in January 2020 and remains among the most highly rated government podcasts on Apple. 

The Public Money Pod can be found on Apple Podcasts and wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.