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date: 24 June 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a primer of the fiscal frameworks set forth in the US Constitution and the fifty state constitutions. Recognizing that neither the United States nor any constituent state has a free-standing fiscal constitution, the article works through the labyrinth of fiscal provisions that are embedded in the constitutions and constitutional law. Because what the US Constitution “says” about the practice of fiscal federalism is largely about what the federal courts (past and present) have decided it should be (ostensibly based on what the framers meant by federalism), the article begins with a review of The Federalist on federal and state fiscal powers. It then lays out the core public finance provisions in the federal Constitution.

Keywords: constitutional framework, state finance, local government finance, US Constitution, fiscal federalism, fiscal powers, public finance

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