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
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
In this paper we seek to answer some basic questions about the condition of local government in the Pacific. Firstly, we examine what is meant by ‘local government’ in the various islands and for that matter how Pacific Island states have perceived and accepted local government institutions in practice; second, we ask basic questions about existing legal and constitutional recognition and powers; and third, we provide initial findings on current per capita expenditure and local government financial viability in a number of Pacific cities and towns. We also make some observations on current moves towards local government reform.
Author: Graham Hassall, Feue Tipu Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2008
The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) was established in 1994, coinciding with rapid moves towards decentralisation at that time, especially in Commonwealth Africa. It uniquely brings together national associations of local government and individual councils, ministries responsible for local government, and training and research institutes with an interest in local government, on a common platform. This reflects an understanding that local government needs effective central government and vice versa if decentralisation is to be truly successful, and that research, training and practice need to be brought together in a constructive and creative way. CLGF’s developmental work can be divided into three main categories: Promotion and advocacy of local democracy and good governance, Exchange of experience and Capacity building.This article provides a brief overview of the activities and projects which CLGF has underway in respect of these objectives. It will be complemented by more detailed papers on specific programmes and projects in this and future issues of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance.
Author: Lucy Slack Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2008