The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-03-21
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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State and local government fiscal systems have increasingly become vulnerable to economic changes. Over the past three decades, state and local deficits during economic recession have been larger and deeper each time. The impact of the Great Recession and its aftermath of feeble growth and lingering high unemployment has been dramatic both in scope and intensity. Before the crisis, long-term structural deficits were persistent for both individual governments and the entire sector as spending plans and patterns outpaced governments' revenue-generating capacity. The revenue systems of these governments eroded while the workloads and scope on the expenditure side of the state and local system budget continued to grow. This handbook evaluates the persistent problems in the fiscal systems of state and local governments and what can be done to solve them. It contains 35 chapters authored by 60 practitioners and academics who are renowned scholars in state and local finance. Each chapter provides a description of the discipline area, examines major developments in policy, practices and research, and opines on future prospects. The chapters are divided into four sections. Section I is a systematic discussion of the institutional, economic, and political framework that provides a background for understanding the structure and financial performance of the state and local sector. The chapters in Section II provide an overview of the various components of state and local revenue systems and how they reacted to the Great Recession. They analyze the diverse forms of taxes and charges in detail, prescribe remedies and alternatives, and examine the implications for future revenue performance. Chapters in Section III turn to spending, borrowing and financial management in the state and local sector. The focus is on the big six service delivery sectors: education, health care, human services, transportation, pensions, and housing. Section IV is a set of chapters that look ahead and speculate about how the state and local government sector's money-raising, spending, and service delivery structures will adjust to the new circumstances.

Author Biography

Robert D. Ebel is Research Professor of Economics at the University of the District of Columbia. For the period 2006-2009 he served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Revenue analysis and Chief Economist for the Washington, DC government. Earlier, Ebel was a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute/Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center (TPC) and Lead Economist for the World Bank Institute's Capacity Building programs on Public Finance, Intergovernmental Relations, and Local Financial Management.

John Petersen is Professor of Public Policy and Finance at the School of Public Policy, George Mason University. Prior to joining the faculty, he was President and Division Director of the Government Finance Group, a financial research and advisory firm. Earlier, Petersen served as Senior Director of the Government Finance Research Center of the Government Finance Officers Association. Petersen has written the finance column for Governing Magazine for twenty years and in 2011 received the Ken Howard Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Contributorsp. xiii
Introduction: State and Local Government Finance in the United Statesp. 1
The Economic, Demographic, and Institutional Framework
The Constitutional Frameworks of State and Local / Government Financep. 45
Federalism Trends, Tensions, and Outlookp. 83
State and Local Government Finance: Why It Mattersp. 105
State and Local Governments and the National Economyp. 137
The Evolving Financial Architecture of State and Local Governmentsp. 156
Profiles of Local Government Financep. 176
Federal Preemption of Revenue Autonomyp. 198
State Intergovernmental Grant Programsp. 213
State and Local Fiscal Institutions in Recession and Recoveryp. 246
Revenue Structures and Systems
Real Property Taxp. 271
State Personal Income Taxesp. 300
State Corporate Income Taxesp. 333
Entity Taxation of Business Enterprisesp. 352
Implications of a Federal Value-Added Tax for State and Local Governmentsp. 380
Retail Sales and Use Taxationp. 406
Local Revenue Diversification: User Charges, Sales Taxes, and Income Taxesp. 429
State Tax Administration: Seven Problems in Search of a Solutionp. 463
Revenue Estimationp. 497
Spending, Borrowing, and Financial Management
Providing and Financing K-12 Educationp. 519
The Social Safety Net, Health Care, and the Great Recessionp. 542
Transportation Financep. 594
Housing Policy: The Evolving Subnational Rolep. 624
Captial Budgeting and Spendingp. 658
Financial Markets and State and Local Governmentsp. 682
Infrastructure Privatization in the New Millenniump. 727
Financial Emergencies: Default and Bankruptcyp. 756
Government Financial-Reporting Standards: Reviewing the Past and Present, Anticipating the Futurep. 783
Pullback Management: State Budgeting under Fiscal Stressp. 816
Public Employee Pensions and Investmentsp. 843
Looking Ahead: Reforming and Restructuring
Accomplishing State Budget Policy and Process Reformsp. 871
Fiscal Austerity and the Future of Federalismp. 894
Achieving Fiscal Sustainability for State and Local Governmentsp. 917
The Intergovernmental Grant Systemp. 937
Community Associations at Middle Age: Considering the Optionsp. 958
Indexp. 985
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