Economic Development, Financial Foundations Framework, Rethinking Revenue

Putting Public Assets to Work

Cover of Research Report

Local governments are sitting on a virtual “gold mine” without realizing it. Just as a private individual or a corporation uses assets (like machines or buildings) to generate income, governments can generate income from their assets. Urban Wealth Funds (UWF) are assigned government assets with commercial value under unified, professional management and manage them for the betterment of the local community. Examples of assets with commercial value include, but are not limited to, land, underutilized facilities, utilities, and transportation infrastructure. Better management of these assets reduces reliance on taxes for infrastructure investment because returns from the UWF can be used to support investment instead.

This report answers common questions about UWFs and what local governments can do to take advantage of this approach to managing assets.