Identifying, planning, and executing research to aid with discussion of fiscal and governance issues

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 periodic reports and informed analyses, and offering venues at which to convene national and local discussion on fiscal and governmental issues.

The unique design of the GFRC is its emphasis on the local level with connections to the state level. 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 approach also draws on CUPPA’s long-standing partnership and collaboration with the National League of Cities, the Brookings Institution, the Civic Federation, the 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 will work 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 objectives of the GFRC will include the identification, planning and execution of research that will be the focus of regular and periodic reports, informed analysis, and the most inclusive and up- to-date forums and workshops for discussion of fiscal and governance issues.


Meet the Government Finance Research Center Team

Michael A. Pagano

Michael A. Pagano, Director

Michael A. Pagano is dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, professor of public administration, Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (which was chartered by Congress to assist federal, state, and local governments in improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability), former co-editor of Urban Affairs Review (2001-2014), and Faculty Fellow of UICs Great Cities Institute. Pagano has published over 80 articles on urban finance, capital budgeting, federalism, transportation policy, infrastructure, urban development and fiscal policy; he has delivered over 100 papers and speeches; and he has been awarded grants from numerous foundations and agencies. He serves on a variety of professional organizations, including the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the Metropolitan Planning Council (Chicago), the Pension Committee of the Civic Federation, and the Urban Land Institute. Read more about Michael A. Pagano.

Amanda Kass, Associate Director

Amanda Kass, Associate Director

As associate director of GFRC, Amanda Kass designs, conducts, and manages research in the GFRC’s priority areas. Amanda also works with the faculty and external advisory panels to advance the GFRC’s goals and disseminate its research. Amanda has previously worked at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and the University of Chicago’s Center for Municipal Finance. Her research focuses on state and local finance, with sub-specialties in pensions, housing, and fiscal analysis. Read more about Amanda Kass.


Isabella Romano

Isabella Romano, Research Assistant

Isabella Romano is a graduate student in UIC CUPPA’s Public Policy program. She is interested in budgeting, fiscal, and economic policy to support equitable and sustainable communities. Isabella started at the GFRC in 2020 and supports the Assistant Director with research, writing, and visualizations.


Farhad Kaab-Omeyr, Research Associate

As a PhD Candidate in Public Administration, Farhad Kaab-Omeyr Specializes in government finance and local capital budgeting and financing. Since 2018, Farhad has been involved in conducting research in the GFRC’s priority areas and has helped the director, associate director, and other faculty members with their GFRC related research undertakings. Farhad has also been involved with National League of City’s (NLC) City Fiscal Condition (CFC) project since 2016.

Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

Barrett and Greene, Senior Advisors

Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene started Barrett and Greene Inc. more than 25 years ago and specialize in researching, writing, analyzing, speaking about and consulting about city, county and state government. They have demonstrated expertise in government management generally, tax systems, state budgeting, health management and policy, pensions, human resources, infrastructure, contracting and notably, performance measurement. Read more about Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene.

The Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago

412 S. Peoria St., 115 CUPPA Hall, Chicago, Illinois 60607