Improving Fiscal Impacts Analysis

You'll learn about:

  • Traditional methods used in fiscal impact analysis.
  • The legitimacy of criticisms against FIA by academics.
  • The validity of received conclusions of FIA results.
  • Alternative cost estimation methods under the condition of marginal costing.
  • Fiscal equilibrium and differentiation of fiscal impacts by the nature of development.

Research funded by Lincoln Institute a decade ago generated doubts of FIA but failed to provide practical recommendations. In this facilitated discussion, the panelists and participants will discuss the previous research and develop practical improvements to the FIA process.

The session will first review the methods developed by Robert Burchell and David Listokin in their 1978 The Fiscal Impact Handbook, invite participants to discuss the pros and cons of the prevailing methods, and answer some of the criticisms of FIA.

The panelists will then review lessons learned from decades of FIA practice, including claims that only non-residential development could generate surplus, each unit built would generate one student, and multifamily development is more costly than large single family development.

The latter part of the discussion focuses on FIA methods such as how to separate residential expenditure from municipal expenditure, how to detect slack or overburdened capacity, and ascertain non-average costing situations. The discussion will then cover methodological adjustments to estimate non-linear costs under marginal-costing situation and to cover multiple impacts in accordance to unique housing mix, household characteristics and activities. The last part of the discussion will explore the idea of fiscal equilibrium and long term iteration of development impact.