commission on fiscal imbalance 合集

Some have expressed concern that greater

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Unformatted text preview: d, 1997). Development of block grants for welfare (the TANF program), with considerable independence for state governments to operate the program, was widely touted as evidence of the decentralization. However, the program represented a very small component of both federal and state budgets. In total, Kincaid noted that only 15 of 618 federal categorical grant programs in 1995 were block grants, and even these included significant controls over state and local behavior. Some have expressed concern that greater decentralization will result in less uniformity across the U.S. (for example, Kincaid, 1997). It is true that greater diversity in service delivery is a likely outcome of decentralization, but this is the intent. Decentralization is not only expected to allow advantages in terms of administering programs at the sub-national level, but to allow sub-national control over the types of services offered and to permit experimentation on the best ways to deliver services. These advantages can only be realized if the potential for diversity across states is permitted, and indeed, expected. 24 Commission on Fiscal Imbalance FORCES BEHIND CENTRALIZATION AND DECENTRALIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES By Bruce A. Wallin Over its more than two hundred years of history, the relationship between the national and state governments in the United States has been on the one hand stable, mostly due to Constitutional specifications, but at the same time fluid, the result of political and institutional dynamics. In the earliest years state and local governments were primary in the federation. Then national government power grew in spurts in the nineteenth century, and rose fairly consistently and dramatically as the twentieth century progressed. Toward the end of that era, the pendulum began to swing back toward the states, and in some ways continues to do so today. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this ebb and flow of intergovernmental relations in the United States. It will begin by discussing the nation’s founding and the eventual growth of national government power, much of it facilitated by use of intergovernmental aid. A review of the system that emerged by the 1960s and 1970s will be followed by a discussion of the criticism that a more centralized system provoked, and the subsequent movement, both explicit and implicit, toward decentralization. I will argue that while decentralization of decision-making from the federal government to state and local governments has garnered increased attention, explicit federal government policy shifts have not matched the rhetoric. The state and local government role has increased, however, due to their willingness to increase own source revenues. The paper will conclude with brief observations on the treatment of fiscal imbalance in the US federal system, and on the mechanisms available for mediating differences of opinion between national and state governments. 1. THE FOUNDING AND SUBSEQUENT GROWTH OF NATIONAL POWER The United States fought its revolutionary war in response to domination by a government deemed too far removed and out of touch with the needs of its citizens – a ch...
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2013 for the course ECON 220 taught by Professor Paulo during the Spring '13 term at University of Liverpool.

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