The Politics of City Revenue

By Arnold J. Meltsner | Go to book overview

7
Politics, Policy, and City Revenue

In this concluding chapter I would like to go beyond Oakland to consider some general policy implications for our money-hungry cities. No doubt my Oakland experience provides a certain orientation to my opinions; however, in discussing Oakland with officials and observers of other cities, I find that Oakland is not particularly unique in its fiscal behavior. Its officials, like many throughout the nation, believe that there are insufficient available resources to meet their problems, that the public is hostile to increased levels of governmental taxation and spending, and that they have few choices left except to appeal, with futile expectations, to the federal government. In short, local officials perceive a fiscal crisis. As a working assumption, I accept the reality of this perception of crisis, but I maintain that local officials, despite the difficulties, must accept the responsibility of obtaining more money as their primary objective. The officials' hard choice is either get more or do less, and our cities cannot afford to do less.


A POLITICAL PROBLEM

The current fiscal crisis of our cities is a political problem, not just an economic one. Although there may be some poor states,

____________________

Note: An earlier version of this chapter was published in Financing the Metropolis: Public Policy in Urban Economies, vol. 4, Urban Affairs Annual Review, ed. John P. Crecine ( Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, Inc., 1970).

-248-

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The Politics of City Revenue
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Oakland Project vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Revenue Sources 12
  • 2 - City Officials And Oakland Finance 49
  • 3 - The Revenue Process And Public Avoidance 86
  • 4 - The Sewer Service Charge 132
  • 5 - Budgeting Without Money 161
  • 6 - Citizen-Leader Perceptions Of Oakland Finance 186
  • 7 - Politics, Policy, And City Revenue 248
  • Appendix 287
  • Bibliography 289
  • Index 297
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