Financial condition analysis: A key tool in the MPA curriculum

We are living in challenging times from the perspective of financing government services. Whether it is voter frustration with taxes, governments still recovering from the 2007–08 “Great Recession,” federal and/or state unfunded mandates, economic changes, or deteriorating infrastructure, governments face a number of fiscal challenges. Nonprofit organizations also struggle to operate in an era of growing demand for services with resources that have been limited, for example, by declining government support and negative effects of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Whether your interest is nonprofit or public management, then, understanding fiscal information and how to use that information to affect policy are critical. This article offers a definition of financial condition and makes the case that a fiscal condition analysis (FCA) exercise is an effective assignment for students in public administration, affairs, and policy programs.