State and Local Finance. The goal is that you will have a better understanding of how and why you should stay informed, and most importantly engaged in the process that involves how your Federal, state and local government spend your money each day. Understanding the context of how these decisions are made helps you become better informed taxpayers. The recent events and how the Federal, states and localities will respond should be based on some historical context as well as many of the theories we have been discussing throughout the semester. As a result, this final exam is intended for you to show me that you have gained the knowledge necessary to analyze what governments at all levels have done so far, and what they should focus on in the upcoming fiscal years. Instructions: You should answer 10 of the 17 following questions, each will be worth 10 points. You may use your notes, slides, and any additional sources you find. The links included in the questions are intended to be a guide. Feel free to find other sources to support your answer. Include sources as a link, formal citation is not necessary for your additional sources (i.e. links are sufficient). (1) TAX = EXP. From day one of this class, we discussed how the study of State and Local finance is inherently different from the issues addressed by Federal Government in their respective budgets. The article below is a great example of the fiscal choices that State/Local governments make. How States and localities will manage through this crisis is dependent upon their prior fiscal choices. What are the differences between what the Federal government can do, and what the states and localities can do? What are the implications? You should discuss why these differences matter. Your answer should include specific examples. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2020/04/24/states-take-early-steps-to-manage-covid-19-budget-fallout?utm_campaign=2020-04-29+Rundown&utm_medium=email&utm_source=PewT (2) Richard Musgrave’s 3-part definition of the “role” of government provides us with the rationalization for many of the policies enacted by Federal, State, and Local governments. Please describe each and provide an example of how a government program (or policy) enacted to date to address the COVID crisis help accomplish each of the three roles. You should have a recent example for each role. https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus (3) The United States recently participated in the democratic tradition that stretches back to the founding of the republic: the once-a-decade census of its population. From 1790 (U.S. population: 3.9 million) to 2010 (U.S. population: 309 million), the decennial census has changed alongside the nation itself. From the territory it covers, to the questions it asks, to how it collects the information, the census has reflected evolution in technology, the role of the federal government, and the size of the country itself. The stakes are high for States, local governments, and regions across the country, which depend on a full and accurate count of their populations to ensure their fiscal health and political strength. How has the current crisis impact this vital account of the US population? What are areas of fiscal health that the States and local governments should be concerned about? What will be some of the challenges? https://2020census.gov/content/dam/2020census/materials/partners/2020-01/Uses-of-Census-Bureau-Data-in-Federal-Funds-Distribution.pdf (4) As we discussed in class, grants from the Federal government are generally provided through three different types. Please describe the four elements that support grant policy and the three types of grants that the Federal government utilizes. The article below discusses some of the outstanding issues relating to the need for additional funds from the Federal governments for the states and localities. Based on your knowledge of why grants exist, and how they are calculated, how would you alter some of the formulas being used to distribute aid? What recommendations should policy makers consider ensuring that the States that have been hardest hit by the crisis are compensated? Alternatively, if you believe it is not up to the Federal government to support these states with additional relief, defend your position and offer alternatives for revenues that the State should consider. https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/states-need-significantly-more-fiscal-relief-to-slow-the-emerging-deep
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