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Reevaluating the Effect of Tax and Expenditure Limitations

Listed author(s):
  • Rui Sun


    (California State University, CA, USA)

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    This article evaluates the effect of tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) on municipal general own-source revenue in the United States. Using an instrumental variable approach, this study addresses the endogeneity problem of TELs that has been largely overlooked in previous research. Data are collected on 724 US cities with populations of at least 25,000 from 1970 to 2006. Results indicate that when the endogeneity of TELs is taken into account, TELs lead to considerable reductions in property taxes but substantial increases in sales taxes, income taxes, and user charges per capita. The increases in the latter forms of revenue not only offset the loss in property taxes but also generate a supplemental revenue effect, resulting in a net gain of total municipal general own-source revenue per capita. The study provides important policy implications and suggests that TELs may have unintended consequences and lead to bigger government.

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    Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 92-116

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:42:y:2014:i:1:p:92-116
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