Attempts to sketch out the rudiments of a new approach to financing local government in an era of fiscal restraint, resistance to tax increases, fiscal controls, tax base erosion, and a decline in grants from federal and state governments. The paper stresses the stripping away of nonessentials, the employment of market-oriented mechanisms, and the imposition of direct charges to beneficiaries. In addition to pricing/rationing devices for providing services — a technique gaining increasing attention — the author suggests how special assessments and neighborhood-specific taxes might be employed. Also discussed are departures in procedures for allocating labor and capital across service agencies, and the prospects of interjurisdictional sales of services. Some ideas for a multipurpose public service voucher are offered.
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