Fiscal impacts on local governments due to COVID-19 pandemic: What to anticipate?

Major Highlights
• COVID-19 pandemic has created economic conditions not witnessed since the Great Depression in the 1930’s
• The State of Iowa has lost over 250,000 jobs since March, 2020
• Cities are beginning to feel the fiscal effects as a result of the economic slowdown
• Full scale of impacts on city finances yet to be known
• Motivation is to understand how the last recession impacted city finances
• Great recession of 2007-09 created significant financial impacts on Iowa cities
• Using actual financial data, this report tracks trends of a host of revenue indicators
• Data includes both, governmental and proprietary funds, 2007-15
• Data has been broke down into seven categories, based on the Total Annual Revenues
• Not all small cities have low annual revenues – variation is primarily due to presence of business like operations – utilities, hospitals, rec centers etc.
• Major variations across the seven categories.
• Cities with lower annual revenues witnessed gradual revenue decline, although there were years which witnessed increases
• Cities with smaller annual budgets witnessed larger percentage declines
• Cities with the largest budgets held steady through the recession and in the post-recession recovery period
• Reliance on property tax increased across all the categories
• Debt witnessed decline in the period following the recession but increased from 2013 onwards
• Intergovernmental funds helped larger cities more than smaller cities
• Charges for fees increased across all city sizes

Full report available at:

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