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February 08, 2007

Government tradeoffs

With a new state tax and finance commission looking at the division of public responsibilities between the state and local governments, N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explores the tradeoffs.

"Well I think the issue is that we would like to have some government services ... available to the same degree at the same level regardless of where you live in the state -- things like public safety, public health, public education," Dr. Walden says. "We want every person, every child, to have the same available services in those areas regardless of what county they are in.

"And yet all localities can't afford -- simply can't afford -- to produce that same level of service. So you have an issue of whether the state should step in and finance some minimal level. And indeed this is one of the things that the new state commission on taxes and finances is looking at.

"There is one tradeoff here, though ... and that is that usually with financing goes control," he concludes. "So if you have state financing of an area, usually that means giving up some degree of local control."

Posted by deeshore at February 8, 2007 04:16 PM