The Government Finance Research Center (GFRC) is a research unit dedicated to innovative and unbiased public finance research and education that provides technical assistance on how to make government work better and improve the fiscal health of our communities.
Part of the College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs (CUPPA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the GFRC is a nationally-recognized source of research, education, and community engagement that benefits state and local governments in the greater Chicago area, throughout Illinois, and across America.
The purpose of the Government Finance Research Center is to shape and inform public policy and scholarly discourse on government and public finance by identifying, planning, and executing research, providing reports and informed analyses, and offering inclusive venues to convene national and local discussions on fiscal and governance issues.
The mission will be realized by GFRC staff, students, and affiliated faculty through community-engaged interdisciplinary research focused on today’s most important public finance and governance questions. The unique design of the GFRC is its emphasis on the local level with connections to the state and federal levels. Focusing on state and local government finances allows a bottom-up understanding of the possibilities and constraints on government actions that most closely connect to the daily lives of citizens and residents.
The GFRC was established as a campus unit at UIC in 2018 with an approach that draws upon CUPPA’s long-standing partnerships and collaborations with the National League of Cities, Brookings Institution, Government Finance Officers Association, and other civic and professional associations, both regionally and nationally. Through this intertwining of bottom-up research and policy leadership, the GFRC aims to be the nationally recognized center of informed fiscal policy and scholarly discourse, thereby shaping the debate on state, municipal, and regional governance and public finance.
The GFRC concentrates its public finance research into the following clusters:
- Tax Policy and Administration
- Fiscal Policy and Financial Position
- Debt and Long-Term Obligations
GFRC researchers have proven expertise in property taxation, revenue diversification, tax increment financing, special districts, municipal securities, public pensions, tax deductibility, financial condition, and fiscal health, among other topics.
Faculty and staff are active in the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management, National Tax Association, Urban Affairs Association, and American Association of Geographers among other professional associations.
The GFRC research staff is comprised of two Ph.D. researchers and several graduate students in public administration and urban planning and is supported by affiliated faculty from UIC and other Illinois universities as well as professionals working throughout the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Each scholar and practitioner bring a broad range of experience, deep knowledge of government and public finance, and specialized skills to every research project.