University of Wisconsin–Madison

Progressive Policies for Raising Municipal Revenue

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2015
Level City or Town, County
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Democracy & Governance
This report lays out a set of policy and political interventions that cities, regions, and states can make to increase municipal revenue and to make their collections more progressive. Cities have historically suffered enormous budget shortfalls and after the Great Recession, available funds depleted even more drastically. There is a desperate need for more municipal tax revenue and for a more just system for collecting it, instead of the current practice of cities collecting their revenue in regressive ways. Across the United States, there are major political obstacles to raising any kind of revenue. And yet, although different, the obstacles at the municipal level are in some ways even greater than they are at the state and federal levels. Nevertheless, there are meaningful strategies that cities and counties can adopt. And there are political strategies that may be effective at generating state-level reform. This report lays these out in detail, discussing the political and policy strengths and weaknesses of each.

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