While nearly everyone in the United States pays careful attention to the federal government in Washington, it is the state and local officials and bodies who are generally providing education, protecting the environment, caring for AIDS patients, financing affordable housing, and putting police and firefighters on the streets. In this text, Henry Raimondo gives these local governments some of the notice they are due, examining why state and local public finance has assumed such an important role in domestic fiscal policy matters. Traditional topics such as the theories of taxation and intergovernmental grants are combined with numerous overlooked subjects to reveal the dynamic and complex nature of state and local government fiscal behavior. Raimondo begins his text with a look at the relationship between regional economic performance and state and local government finance, and follows with a description of U.S. economic geography. The organization of the public sector is outlined through a discussion of the political and economic dimensions of the federal system, and the guidelines for delegating services to different levels of government.
Among the other topics covered are methods for financing elementary and secondary education that adjust for regional economic differences; taxation in a federal system; state and local taxes on property, sales, and personal income; user charges and gambling revenues; and the actual beneficiaries of state and local governments. The book concludes with an overview of the grants-in-aid system and its effect on spending decisions. Students of economics, urban studies, and political science will find this work to be an invaluable resource, as will professionals in public policy and planning.