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A Rough Taxonomy of State Fiscal Policy Issues with an Emphasis on Local Fiscal Constitutions

Darien Shanske, PhD, UC Davis
When Jul 25, 2013
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
Where 1130 K Street, Room LL3
Contact Name
Contact Phone 530-752-2635
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Considering the best fiscal policy for a state can be approached as posing the same questions as would be relevant for any government.  For instance, should any government prefer an ideal consumption tax to an ideal income tax?  Yet we might also study state fiscal policy with an emphasis on the intermediary role of states – states are both parts of a federation and mini-federations themselves.  From this perspective, we must always ask multi-dimensional questions.  For instance: What are the consequences for a state that chooses to have a consumption tax when the federal government does not?  How should a given state tax be designed given the taxes of other states?  How should a state tax be designed given the existence and powers of local governments?

In this talk, I will offer a rough taxonomy of the fiscal policy issues that are special to states with a particular focus on the question of the fiscal constitution of localities in California. Though constrained on all sides, I will argue that California retains the possibility of implementing win-win fiscal reforms at the local level.

Professor Darien Shanske holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Rhetoric, an M.A. from McGill University in Philosophy, and a B.A. from Columbia University. Before law school, Professor Shanske worked as a financial consultant to California local governments; after law school, he worked as an attorney in the public finance department of Sidley Austin in San Francisco. Professor Shanske then clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Professor Shanske’s academic interests include taxation, particularly state and local taxation, local government law, public finance, and political theory, particularly jurisprudence. Some of his current projects are on the local property tax, the state and local fiscal relationship, and the fiscal constitution of California.

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