In its 2018 State of the Cities report issued on May 30, the National League of Cities noted “economic development” and “infrastructure” are the top items on the agendas for most U.S. mayors.
Now in its fifth year, the NLC’s report analyzes key issues and trends in the state of the city (SOTC) speeches mayors deliver annually and the group said its 2018 report examined 160 mayoral speeches delivered between January and April this year, which included U.S. cities with a range of population sizes scattered across different geographic regions.
Economic development came out as the top issue on the agenda of 58 percent of the mayoral speeches in the survey, with infrastructure second at 56 percent. Within the third item on the list – budgets and management, at 49 percent – the NLC noted that “strained partnerships” is becoming a “key theme” in state and federal government relations.
“As a subtopic within budgets and management, intergovernmental relations increased to the number three issue for mayors in 2018 due to concerns over broad policy conflicts between state, federal, and local government, as well as specific concerns on tax and revenue tensions,” noted Brooks Rainwater, NLC’s director of city solutions and applied research and one of the authors of the report, in a statement.
“With many state and federal partners stuck in political gridlock or actively disinvesting in cities, mayors consistently demonstrate the capacity and willingness to solve complex problems that are shaped by local realities and have broad national implications,” he added.