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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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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