Research Reports / Publications
Since 2003, the Division has been using the information OSC collects from local governments to produce research reports on major policy issues facing local governments and state policy-makers.
Local Government Snapshot - County Tax Cap Recap: Fewer Counties Exceeding Levy Limits [Released 06/18/15]
In 2015, the number of counties exceeding the tax cap decreased substantially and only six counties exceeded the cap—a decrease of 54 percent from 2014. Among the counties that stayed within the tax levy limit in 2015, many have levied right up to the limit. Of these 51 counties, 23 levied taxes that amounted to 99 percent or more of their allowable tax levy limit. This may be due in part to the newly enacted Property Tax Freeze Credit. [read complete County Tax Cap Recap - pdf] | [County Tax Cap Data as of April 30, 2015 - Excel]
Fiscal Stress Close-Up: Short-Term Debt [Released 06/17/15]
While there are some exceptions, a heavy or ongoing reliance on short-term debt tools indicates that a local government has cash flow issues that are not being resolved. The presence of short-term debt as an indicator of fiscal stress is measured in OSC's Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. Counties and school districts are by far the biggest issuers of short-term debt, typically using it to bridge financial gaps caused by poor timing of revenue receipts. [read complete Short-Term Debt Report - pdf]
Other Fiscal Stress Close-Up Reports:
[Cash/Liquidity - pdf] | [Fixed Costs - pdf] | [Fund Balance - pdf] | [Operating Deficits - pdf]
OSC provides numerous publications for use by local government officials and others interested in government issues and finance.
Fiscal Stress Monitoring Summary Results: Common Themes for School Districts [Released 01/29/15]
The districts experiencing fiscal stress are spread across the State. One indicator in particular—the operating deficit—saw substantial changes in the FSMS points assigned compared to the previous year: 19 percent received a higher FSMS score on this indicator, while 28 percent scored lower. Changes in scores for this indicator contributed to changes in districts’ overall levels of fiscal stress. [read complete Summary Results report - pdf]
2014 Annual Report on Local Governments [01/15]
Although some of our key economic indicators suggest improvement in the economic climate, the pressure on local governments to do more with less persists. The following report highlights the very difficult fiscal environment under which local officials are expected to fulfill their obligations to the people they serve, as well as outlining the significant steps OSC is taking to assist in these efforts. [read complete 2014 Annual Report - pdf]