Gone are the days when the raising and apportioning of municipal monies was a relatively simple task, when ample income could be expected to meet projected needs and also fund a few additional projects. Now local officials are faced with shrinking budgets, tax revolts, decreasing federal support, increasing state and federal regulations—in short, genuine crunches that leave them pondering how sparse resources can ever be stretched to meet the multitude of actual needs. This book stresses the political dimensions of local finance, emphasizing the local, intergovernmental, and private-sector constraints faced by municipal officials in their attempt to provide services while balancing the budget. Integrating the implications of the Reagan administration’s new approach to federal spending into their analyses, the authors examine the impact of state regulations on local taxation and debt policies, the relationship between local governments and the municipal bond market, the political economy of New York City’s fiscal crisis, and the impact of various tax limitation measures, including California’s Proposition 13. They also study the effect of community development grants on local decisionmaking structures and the impact of urban congressional representatives on the allocation of federal grants. Their presentation is aimed especially at graduate and upper-level undergraduate students of urban politics, local finance, state and local government, and intergovernmental relations.
Introduction -- The 1970s: A Decade of Change in Local Government Finance -- Inflexible Budgets, Fiscal Stress, and the Tax Revolt -- Politics, Local Government, and the Municipal Bond Market -- City Politics and the Market: The Case of New York City’s Financing Crisis -- State Government: The Overseer of Municipal Finance -- Managers and Politicians: The Politics of Spending Federal Money -- Congressional Politics, Federal Grants, and Local Needs: Who Gets What and Why?