UGA PhD students at ABFM

The Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) recently held its annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ABFM is a section of the broader public administration professional association called the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). Specifically, the mission of ABFM is to promote professional development of budgeting and financial management in both the government and nonprofit sectors by embracing both theoretical and operational concerns of academics and practitioners across the globe. ABFM is the premier professional association for SPIA faculty with expertise in government and nonprofit fiscal policy and financial management. At the annual conference this year, four PhD students from the Department of Public Administration and Policy attended the conference to showcase their original research. Benjamin Brunjes, a third year student specializing in public management, presented his co-authored paper with Dr. Deborah Carroll examining the association between fares paid for transportation services provided by regional authorities and the tax burden imposed upon residents living within the regional area who, the authors found, are subsiding the use of public transportation regardless of whether residents are users themselves. Also third year students, but specializing in the areas of public budgeting and finance, Yoon Cho and Jekyung Lee each presented their solo-authored papers respectively entitled, “Do People Still Vote with their feet Based on the Tax Rate? Focusing on the Realized Household’s Mobility Decision from SIPP Data” and “Impact of Debt as a Policy Tool on Tax Burden in the U.S. States.” Also, second year student specializing in public budgeting and finance, Mikhail Ivonchyk presented his paper co-authored with Dr. Deborah Carroll that examined the role of homestead exemptions that reduce property tax burden for homeowners in promoting inefficiency in government service provision. According to Dr. Deborah Carroll, who is the department’s MPA Program Director and Graduate Coordinator, as well as serves on the ABFM Executive Committee as the organization’s Treasurer, “All of our students did an exceptional job presenting very innovative and relevant research. Their audiences often consisted of the leading scholars the students were citing in their own research. And, our students represented UGA and SPIA in the best possible way – as professionals.” For both Benjamin and Mikhail, this was their first time attending the ABFM conference, and it was Mikhail’s first ever conference presentation. In addition, to the three third-year students having just finished their comprehensive exams only days before the conference, and despite the hard work the students put into their research papers and presentations, all four students also volunteered eight hours of their time at the conference to help ABFM conference organizers ensure the conference ran smoothly. These students are certainly a positive example of the great work happening at SPIA.