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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a profile of the structure and diversity of local government finance. Nearly ninety thousand local governments in the United States provide most public services. It is such a diverse subsector that no one set of political or fiscal arrangements can be said to be standard. This scale and complexity make the local governments in the United States unique among the world's nation-states. The main revenue sources for local governments are own-source revenues that they raise within their jurisdictions (including revenue from property taxes, sales taxes, personal income taxes, and user fees and charges) and from transfers they receive from the state and federal governments. Local government own-source revenue options are determined by each respective state, although local jurisdictions typically have some power to set rates and exemptions.

Keywords: local government finance, public services, fiscal arrangements, federal governments, own-source revenue, rates and exemptions

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