Local government finance
Resourcing local government remains a central challenge to effective decentralisation. This section has content relating to different models of fiscal decentralisation, options for identifying new sources of local revenue, such as local property tax; and strategies for improving collection and deployment of own-source revenue. It also offers information about improving the borrowing potential of local government, innovative financing models such as municipal bonds, shared services, and public private partnerships.
- Fiscal decentralisation
- Financial management
- Innovative financing models
- Local/own-source revenue generation
- Financing infrastructure
- Public private partnership
- Green finance
- Property tax
A striking feature of local government reform in many Commonwealth countries has been a heavy reliance on structural reform, often in the form of forced local council amalgamation. This paper argues that the long-run success of structural change in local government hinges on several key factors, not least that voluntary rather than compulsory council mergers have a far greater chance of success. A second key ingredient resides in a high degree of local autonomy in both the composition and operation of decentralized governmental functions. A third vital factor lies in ensuring that revenue and tax assignment is sufficient to provide local government with financial autonomy. Finally, adequate powers of taxation need to be accorded to local government and this requires careful consideration of the types of taxes most suited to local government.
Author: Lorenzo Robotti, Brian Dollery Publisher: university of Technology, Sydney Publication year: may 2009
Cities across Canada face an enormous infrastructure deficit. From 100-year-old water mains to transit systems in vital need of upgrading and expansion, Canadian infrastructure is widely recognized to be in dire straits. And while the majority of Canadians elected a new government that was prepared to run a deficit to fund infrastructure, these funds alone will not cover the investments needed. Local governments need to make significant financial investments, too, and must raise revenues through taxes, user fees, and possibly new revenue tools. But before they can take these actions, they have to build trust to convince their residents that new revenues are needed and will be spent wisely. What does it mean to build trust? This paper examines the notion of trust and how governments can build it using: • Good information: relevant data made accessible to citizens and attractively packaged to enhance transparency; • Good communications: good stories that are well told, with relevant information distributed through a variety of channels (using open government tools and techniques); • Good engagement: inclusive and meaningful opportunities for dialogue about policy decisions to build the continuum of trust (using a variety of mechanisms); • Credibility: building an effective track record and controlling costs (through better performance benchmarking and other approaches); • Earmarking of funds: creating a dedicated fund that clearly links revenues raised to specific expenditures, and regularly reporting on the progress of projects funded. This research shows that there are concrete and practical steps that cities can take to build fiscal trust – but there are no shortcuts. Trust-building is a long-term proposition that takes resources. Cities must invest the time and dedicate the resources to build trust through all of the steps outlined, and continue to do so as part of their regular activities.
Author: Dina Graser and Pamela Robinson Publisher: http://munkschool.utoronto.ca/imfg/imfg-perspectives-paper-how-can-local-governments-build-public-trust/ Publication year: 2016
In the two decades from 1995 to 2015, Australian local governments experienced a fourfold increase in expenditure. Even more striking though, is that during this same period many local governments were stripped of their water and sewerage functions – so these figures actually underrepresent the real picture. This report proposes a range of suggestions to address the financial sustainability of local government.
Author: Roberta Ryan and Joseph Drew Publisher: The McKell Institute Publication year: 2016
Much literature has been written about the appeal of property tax as a stable source of revenue for subnational governments in developing countries. Building on this significant background of literature is the author’s practical experience working in local government institutions within both Sierra Leone and Malawi. This article relates to the development and testing of a process of mobilizing the internally generated property tax revenues of local governments, and reports on the results of that process, and the challenges and lessons learned.
Author: Paul Fish Publisher: CLGF/University of Technology, Sydney Publication year: 2015
Pages 135-136 are on property tax. 'Another form of recurrent taxation that can be tapped for further resources in most developing countries is immovable property taxes. These taxes do not distort labor markets, human capital accumulation, or innovation decisions. Property taxes also provide a stable source of revenue that is less susceptible to short-term economic fluctuations and is difficult to evade. And although property taxes would likely not flow into federal social protection schemes (they are typically raised by local governments), they could fund regional or municipal social services or reduce the level of federal transfers to local governments. On average, high-income countries raise 1.1 percent of GDP from immovable property taxes. In middle income countries, these taxes yield about 0.4 percent of GDP.19 Yet property taxes represent untapped revenue potential for all countries. This revenue gap is estimated to be 0.9 percent of GDP in middle-income countries and as much as 2.9 percent in high-income countries.20 Governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to be missing out on revenues of 0.5 to 1 percent of GDP because of no property taxes whatsoever or their limited application.'
Author: World Bank Publisher: World Bank Publication year: 2018