ASU Public Finance Conference

ASU to host economic development experts

By

Heather Beshears

The upcoming ASU Annual Public Finance Conference, March 12-13 in downtown Phoenix, will bring together experts from around the country to explore innovations in public finance. Attendees have the chance to gain insight and strategies from the leaders of large-scale projects, including entertainment, culture and social impact financing for economic development.

Keynote speaker Kent Hiteshew, director of the Office of State and Local Finance, will share observations on the role of the new office. Hiteshew will also explore the new and upcoming federal activities addressing local governments' rebound from the recession.

Hiteshew’s office at the U.S. Department of Treasury was established in 2014 in response to requests for help from local jurisdictions facing fiscal and financial challenges.

“Financial capacity in the public sector is one of the key challenges in governance,” said Jonathan Koppell, dean, College of Public Service and Community Solutions. “Without intelligent innovation in finance, city officials will be hard-pressed to build the infrastructure and implement the change needed to build strong communities.”

“Our annual municipal finance workshop is one of the many ways we bring together researchers and practitioners to generate real solutions and implement constantly-evolving practices,” said Koppell.

“This is a unique opportunity to gain insights from practitioners around the U.S. and Canada, to hear from experts from the private and public sectors, to learn from other communities and to take away tangible tools,” said Karen Mossberger, director of the School of Public Affairs, part of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Longtime business journalist and former managing editor at Bloomberg News, William Glasgall, will lead the opening panel discussion on public finance and how his team at Volcker Alliance is addressing the State Budget Crisis Task Force.

Glasgall oversaw coverage of state and local government and financial news at Bloomberg that won awards from the National Press Club Foundation and other organizations.

Other sessions will bring experts from around the country to share insight and lessons learned working in the public finance space.

"Last year we partnered to develop a guidebook on various financing options for use by local and national governments with the Smart Cities Council,” said Kevin Desouza, associate dean for research for the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. “The future of financing public sector projects in all areas from infrastructure to social services and education needs to be carefully considered. As the nature of financial instruments continues to get complicated and innovations in the financial marketplace occur, forums such as ASU’s Public Finance Conference are important avenues to debate and design solutions."

The closing panel will be devoted to sports and cultural amenities financing with notable guests Paul Dolan, CEO of the Cleveland Indians, Jeffrey Patchen, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, Simon Farbrother, city manager of Edmonton, Canada, and Mark Rosentraub, director of the University of Michigan Center for Sports Management.

For more information on the ASU Public Finance Conference, visit spa.asu.edu/municonference.

Written by Adrianna Ovnicek