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
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through decentralisation and the role of local governments: a systematic review
This paper is about the role of local democracy and governance to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Increased reliance on locally generated revenue, difficulties in managing networks of actors with diverse goals and objectives, imperfect flow of information, and trust deficit in stakeholders pose major challenges to achieving SDGs locally. By doing a systematic review of the recent literature on decentralisation with examples from different local governments, the paper outlines ways in which these challenges could be addressed. The paper also highlights the need for enhancing local leadership capabilities and demarcation of responsibilities among local politicians and bureaucrats, a point missed in the SDG agenda.
Author: Joydeep Guha, Bhaskar Chakrabarti Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Government Publication year: 2019
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