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Unformatted text preview: ent of these objectives. Decision-making processes, described in the preceding
sections, prevent a minority of wealthy cantons from imposing a reform, regardless of how reasonable and economically
sound it may be, on a majority of less privileged cantons. The constellation of interests does not favour such a reform.
Budgetary détente in recent years has somewhat altered the situation and the reforms seem more likely to succeed.
Through the untangling of responsibilities, combined with the strengthening of equalization (in respect of revenues, but
no longer as regards expenditures), all of the cantons could gain broader autonomy. However, the reduction in vast
conditional transfers will be hard to achieve. Why? It might be thought that it is in the interests of all of the cantons to
undo the “golden chains” of conditional subsidies. In actual fact, the reduction of conditional subsidies will make the
cantonal budgetary process more antagonistic. If various departments now have highly predictable budgets, they will, in
the future, have to negotiate the allocation with the cantonal finance minister (Bullinger 2001). Broadly speaking, the
cantonal budgetary process would clearly become more political.
Aside from the question of feasibility, we must pose the question of plausibility. As I have noted, horizontal and vertical
imbalances are real in Switzerland and criticisms of the system are founded. However, such criticism often centres on
economic efficiency reasoning and tends to neglect “political efficiency.” The interaction resulting from these imbalances
is itself in balance. In other words, the resulting constraints and limitations serve a function in the Swiss political system,
that of the integration and balancing of power. 109 Commission on Fiscal Imbalance REFERENCES
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Federal States. Rapport final au Fonds national suisse. Lausanne: Université de Lausanne.
Bullinger, Anne-Béatrice (2001). “Vested Power vs. Reform in Switzerland,” Federations 1(4): 7-8.
Commission intercantonale d'information fiscale (1998). Le système fiscal suisse. Bern: Commission intercantonale
Dafflon, Bernard (1995). Fédéralisme et solidarité: Etude de la péréquation en Suisse. Vol. 15. Études et colloques.
Fribourg: Institut du fédéralisme.
Dafflon, Bernard (2001a). Fiscal Federalism in Switzerland : A Survey of Constitutional Issues, Budget Responsibility
and Equalisation, manuscript.
Dafflon, Bernard (2001b). Federal-Canton Equalisation in Switzerland : What Should and Could Be Changed?
Delley, Jean-Daniel (1984). “La mise en oeuvre des politiques publiques” in Ulrich Klöti (ed.). Manuel Système politique
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