How can we use municipal finance techniques to improve government efficiency?

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.

Center Highlights

July 23, 2018, CMF advisory board member Gary Hall was announced to be the new Chair of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, the principal regulator of the municipal securities market. Read more here.

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.


Christopher Berry

Academic Director, Center for Municipal Finance

Christopher Berry

Christopher Berry is the Academic Director of the Center for Municipal Finance and a Professor at Harris.
Michael D. Belsky

Executive Director, Center for Municipal Finance

Michael Belsky, AM'83

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.