Commonwealth Local Government Forum

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.

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Planning for the Public Benefit in the Entrepreneurial City: Public Land Speculation and Financialized Regulation

The redevelopment of Barangaroo, Sydney’s last vacant central city waterfront site, raised high expectations for the public benefits developers would provide in return. The story highlights the ways in which the entrepreneurial State’s conflict of interest in the redevelopment eroded the quality of the public benefits negotiated in return for a valuable public asset. In contrast to the previous redevelopment projects, the State used public land and its newly centralized regulatory powers to maximize public revenues from Barangaroo, prioritizing these over both the public’s interests and, on occasion, those of private developers.

Author: Heather MacDonald Publisher: Journal of Planning Education and Research Publication year: 2019


Improving subnational government development finance in emerging and developing economies: toward a strategic approach

Considerable attention has been given to enhancing subnational development finance in response to the 2008 global financial crisis and recent global development agendas, including the Sustainable Development Goals, Financing for Development, and Habitat III/New Urban Agenda. Much work on this topic is fragmented, focusing on specific elements of development finance: fiscal transfers, capital market access, public-sector lending agencies, or public-private partnerships. Most countries, however, have a range of subnational governments with varying needs and capacities that require different and evolving mixes of development finance mechanisms. Enabling greater subnational borrowing is often desirable but requires adoption of other reform policies to improve the fiscal capacity and creditworthiness of subnational governments over time. This paper reviews the rationale and potential for improving subnational development finance, outlines the overall landscape of institutional arrangements available for this purpose, and considers broad challenges involved. Based on a review of global practice and experience in selected Asian developing countries with a range of special entities and innovations to enhance subnational investment, it proposes a more integrated, strategic approach to building subnational development finance.

Author: Paul Smoke Publisher: Asian Development Bank Publication year: 2019


Gender-Responsive Budgeting: The Case of a Rural Local Body in Kerala

This article discusses gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) at the local level in Kerala by studying a village panchayat, the lowest tier of rural local government. GRB of a rudimentary form, known as Women Component Plan (WCP), had been in existence at the local level for the last 20 years as a key feature of participatory planning. The study adopts a fourfold classification of all projects implemented in the panchayat on the basis of their gender friendliness and calculates allocation and expenditure under each of these categories. The data on which the article relies relate to the expenditure incurred under the annual plans rather than budgets, which are based on inflated and unreliable data. The article ends by making some observations based on the data and the overall experience of Kerala in gender budgeting.

Author: John S. Moolakkattu, John S. Moolakkattu Publisher: Sage open Publication year: 2018


Structural reform, revenue adequacy and optimal tax assignment in local government

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: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


Local Governance Reforms in Zambia: A Review

This paper provides an overview of the efforts of successive Zambian governments to transform and institutionalise democratic local governance, and to come to grips with the socio-economic development challenges facing the country. It assesses the progress and challenges that governments are facing in their efforts to transform local government into democratic, developmental local governance.

Author: Bornwell C Chikulo Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


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