WASHINGTON — Municipalities continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the economic downturn, though local and regional economies are improving and tax bases are gaining strength, the National League of Cities says in a new report.

The report, City Fiscal Conditions in 2013, is the 28th annual NLC survey of city finance officers, 72% of which reported that their cities were in better fiscal shape this year than in 2012. The survey, conducted by mail, email and sampling 1,140 cities, showed that cities generally are just beginning to recover from the hits they took following the 2008 financial crisis. Last year's survey revealed 57% of finance officers were upbeat about their cities' fiscal conditions, while only 43% responded were bullish in 2011. Health benefit and pensions costs topped the list for factors negatively influencing budgets.

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