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Local Government Program

Kansas Fiscal Conditions and Trends Reports

What is it?

Local fiscal conditions are influenced by demographic, economic, and social trends; state and federal mandates; and local needs and preferences. This makes it difficult for county officials and others to find reliable data to evaluate county fiscal conditions and performance. The Fiscal Conditions and Trends reports provide a starting point. They use information from the Kansas Fiscal Database to examine expenditure and revenue trends from 2005 to 2013, with the Kansas county average as a benchmark.

The report begins with a presentation of population, income, and assessed valuation trends. These characteristics influence the responsibilities and capacity of county governments and establish a context for understanding fiscal trends. Total and per capita revenues and expenditures are then presented in "real dollar" amounts. The value of a dollar declines over time due to inflation, distorting trends. To make fair comparisons over time, the data must be adjusted to a single year's value. In this report, values are adjusted to 2013 dollars. By removing the effects of inflation, the focus shifts to the "real" forces affecting budget trends – economic conditions, changing wants and needs, and mandates.

How can this tool be used?

  • To provide an alternative view of the local government budget situation
  • To evaluate how budget changes have occurred over an eight-year time frame
  • To provide a starting point for understanding how local public finance has changed over time
  • Provokes meaningful thought: Are the trends as expected and intended? Is the distribution across revenue and expenditure categories appropriate? Is the situation represented by the trend lines improving?

What does it take to make this happen?

Our Kansas County Fiscal Conditions and Trends reports are updated annually and freely distributed to Kansas County Commissions, County Clerks, and County Extension Offices throughout the state. They also are available online here on our publications page. Further information is available in presentation form if requested.

How can I find out more?

Contact:

Rebecca Bishop, Local Government/Public Finance Specialist
Office of Local Government
Department of Agricultural Economics
785-532-1503
rbishop@ksu.edu

John Leatherman, Professor and Director
Office of Local Government
Department of Agricultural Economics
785-532-4492
jleather@ksu.edu