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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.
April 14, 2018, Amanda Kass wrote a blog piece about an Illinois law that allows the state Comptroller to intercept state revenue when local governments underfund their police and fire pension funds. Read the piece here.
March 15, 2018, Professor Chris Berry released a new research brief that proposes a method for estimating residential property tax shifting due to regressive assessments. Estimates for Chicago suggest that $2.2 billion was shifted from undertaxed properties onto over-tax properties from 2011 to 2015. Due to regressive assessments, the most expensive homes are the most likely to be under-taxed. Dr. Berry estimate that roughly $800 million in property taxes was shifted from the top 10 percent of properties onto the bottom 90 percent during this period. Read the full brief here.
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. Belsky has over 30 years of experience in the Municipal Bond Industry.
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
02.01.2018 The Chicago Tribune and ProPublica report on a Cook County property tax system study that is still under wraps. Academic Director Chris Berry discusses why that study is unnecessary. Read More
12.14.2017 The Chicago Tribune reports on civil rights lawsuit filed against Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. The Center’s research on property assessments and tax inequities is cited in the lawsuit. Read More
07.19.2017 Crain's Chicago Business interviews Executive Director Mike Belsky about William Blair's exit from the muni bond business. Read More
06.09.2017 Chicago Magazine mentions the Center for Municipal Finance’s study on property tax appeals in Cook County in its coverage of the Tribune’s series on Cook County property taxes. Read More
06.07.2017 A newly released study by the Center for Municipal Finance on property tax appeals in Cook County is featured in a new report by the Chicago Tribune. Read more
05.30.2017 Amanda Kass explains why Illinois’ non-budget is actually the worst budget ever in Chicago Magazine. Read More
05.26.2017 Chicago Magazine quotes Amanda Kass in its coverage of Illinois budget negotiations. Read More
02.15.2017 Executive Director Mike Belsky writes about how Illinois can stop its fiscal shame in Crain’s Chicago Business. Read More
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