[COLUMN] States slap cities with fiscal handcuffs

handcuffs_articleIs anyone trying to balance the fiscal inequities states impose on their localities?

By Frank Shafroth | Governing

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are posted for discussion purposes only.)

In our current federal system, states are endowed with the right to chart their fiscal destinies. Each state can choose which kinds of taxes it wishes to impose — and what rates and rules will apply.

Not so with municipalities. States can, and do, impose fiscal straitjackets on local governments, defining their authority or lack thereof to levy certain kinds of taxes, or even how such taxes may be assessed, applied or collected. At the same time, they require local governments to balance their budgets, keep their debt under control, and promise more to retirees than can be paid.


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