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The Soviet State: A Study of Bolshevik Rule

By Bertram W. Maxwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
MUNICIPAL FINANCE AND CITY PLANNING

MUNICIPAL FINANCE

The present municipal financial system of Soviet Russia dates back to 1925. Previous to that time the financial affairs of the city soviets were entirely merged with those of the higher soviets. In 1923, however, a financial decree was promulgated which extended to municipal organs the right to coöperate in the preparation of the budget, but since the cities had no administrative machinery of their own, this grant of authority had but slight practical significance.


THE FINANCIAL DECREE OF 1925

Early in 1925 the Union Central Executive Committee issued a financial decree which laid down general principles governing the field of local finance and taxation, leaving, however, the working out of the details to the constituent republics. Soon after, the Central Executive Committee of R. S. F. S. R. issued a financial decree based on the Federal Enabling Act, which regulated in detail the entire matter of municipal finance. But these provisions were such as to reduce considerably the scope of municipal administration of finances defined by the Municipal Act of 1925, which authorized the city soviets to frame and confirm their budgets.

In contrast to the latter provision, the financial decree makes it mandatory upon the city soviets to present their budgets to the executive committees of the higher soviets for examination, review, audit, and final decision. Indeed, the higher soviets are given a wide range of authority, so that the examination of municipal budgets is by no means a mere formal compliance with the law, for the higher soviets may rigidly curtail the income of municipalities by denying them the right to certain taxes, surtaxes, and other sources of revenue. Furthermore, the law

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