Research Mentor(s): Natalie Fitzpatrick, Research Area Specialist, Intermediate
Research Mentor School/College/Department: CLOSUP: Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, Ford School of Public Policy
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 15
Local government officials play a key role in policymaking in communities nationwide. However, there are a few ongoing surveys of these officials. The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), conducted by University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, was designed to fill this gap in policy-making research: the survey collects opinions of officials from Michigan’s 1,856 general-purpose local governments (counties, townships, cities, and villages). Each year, the MPPS collects data from these officials on their opinions on a range of local issues, as well as basic financial and demographic information, which allows policy stakeholders to better understand the inner workings of local governments in Michigan. In this project, I look at two questions from the Spring 2020 MPPS regarding local government fiscal health trends and how they may be affected by the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. I compare responses to these questions to very similar questions asked on the Canadian Municipal Barometer, a similar survey for officials in the municipalities across Canada. Generally, as of spring 2020, Canadian government officials tended to perceive their fiscal health trending more pessimistically compared to officials in Michigan. While there are multiple possible explanations for this difference, the research provides insights into the ways the coronavirus pandemic has affected local governments’ financial health.