commission on fiscal imbalance 合集

At the lowest level there is continual dispute in the

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Unformatted text preview: ast 30 years, centralisation creeps in the ways in which cantonal and communal governments perform. A distinction, described in the literature of fiscal federalism as "agency" or "choice" models, may be useful for understanding the issue. In the last three decades, the federal government has increasingly confined itself to the issuing of framework laws and has delegated the implementation of nation-wide functions to the Cantons (which in turn often have transferred the tasks on to their communes) - the "agency" model. ♦ One of the most impressive example of this is the implementation of the federal environmental legislation. The federal government systematically issues normative legal rules (on the basis of art. 74 Cst.). The Cantons have to give impulses to their implementation, co-ordinate (public) provision and control the results. The communes are the executive agencies. The importance of local public expenditures in environment is clear from Tables 3 and 4: it amounts to 63 % of the public outlays for this function. Incentive conditional grants are distributed along the way.10 ♦ Health is another illustration of the "agency" role of the Cantons and the communes. The federal government is responsible for only a tiny proportion of health expenditures (around 1 per cent), mainly because health insurance is governed by a federal framework law. But implementation of the law remains in the hands of the Cantons in the main (56 per cent) and of the communes (43 per cent), with evident problems along this way (DAFFLON, 2000). At the lowest level, there is continual dispute in the Swiss Cantons about the effective extent of autonomy in local public expenditures, first and foremost because no single measure of independence is appropriate (WOLMAN, 1990) so that the Cantons and the communes have divergent claims. A second difficulty in measuring a decentralisation concept is that the fiscal-financial relations between local and cantonal governments vary from one canton to another according to the 26 cantonal Constitutions. Yet, the general trend in all the Cantons has been that (1) under the constraint of a current balanced budget, the "choice" role of the communes has made more and more way for the "agency" role and (2) the change in the relative weight of the two roles is inversely related to the population size of the communes: larger 11 municipalities have been better able to maintain a higher proportion of the "choice" role. In general one can say that probably not more than 1/4 of total local current expenditures are made in response to standards set by higher 10 11 70 From 1960 to 1990, public expenditures for waste water sewage and purification plants amounted to 32 billion SFr. Local governments paid 63 per cent of the total bill, the Cantons 26 per cent and the federal government 11 per cent. A. BARANZINI, Structures et coûts des stations d'épuration en Suisse et gestion efficace des eaux usées, Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, 1996, 4/1, pp. 5...
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