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Pennsylvania Offers A Curious Case To Explore Alternatives To Early Warning Systems And State Intervention: Can Michigan Keep Its Horses From Wandering Off?


May 5, 2020 - Author: <>, Shu Wang, Center for Local Government Finance and Policy and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics

The purpose of this report is to apply the Early Warning System (EWS) used by Pennsylvania with Michigan local government financial and socioeconomic data, as a way to assess potential fiscal distress that cities, townships, and counties may experience. Pennsylvania has experience with using its EWS since 1987 and targeting state financial and technical resources to struggling communities. The Pennsylvania EWS was chosen because, although underlying economic conditions are similar in Michigan and Pennsylvania, the states’ approaches to local distress are different. Therefore, Pennsylvania offers a curious case to explore alternatives to early warning systems and state intervention. The researchers had access to the EWS through Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) participation in the Michigan Government Fiscal Sustainability Workgroup that the MSUE Center for Local Government Finance and Policy facilitates, and the MAPPR grant to hire the software development firm, CitizenDeveloper, to apply Pennsylvania’s platform for Michigan’s local government data.



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