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Regional Taxation and Regional Tax Base Sharing in State Reform

Kirk J. Stark, Barrall Family Professor of Tax Law and Policy, UC Los Angeles
Mar 03, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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"Regional Taxation and Regional Tax Base Sharing in State Tax Reform"


Kirk Stark

Professor of Tax Law and Policy, UC Los Angeles


This article describes and evaluates a specific subset of state tax reforms—i.e., those involving regional approaches to funding subnational public goods. Reforms examined include those where policymakers devise new multi-jurisdictional fiscal arrangements to address regional objectives that conventional local governments, by virtue of their more limited geographic scope, are unlikely to tackle. As used in this article, the term “region” refers to a geographic area (1) constituting less than the entire jurisdiction of a state, and (2) encompassing more than one local government jurisdiction. A “regional tax” is therefore any tax (fee, assessment, etc.…) limited in its application to a geographic area so defined. A closely related policy is “regional tax base sharing”—i.e., the imposition of a tax on a base that is shared among several local jurisdictions, with the proceeds distributed among those localities. There are numerous instances of regional taxation and regional tax base sharing across the U.S. subnational public finance landscape. Some of these examples are familiar to a tax policy audience (such as the Minneapolis-St. Paul tax base sharing system), while others are less well known (such as the Denver Scientific and Cultural Facilities District). In most cases, the fiscal arrangement examined governs multiple counties spanning an entire metropolitan region. Following an evaluation of both successful and failed efforts at regional tax arrangements, the article considers possible extensions of these policies, discussing how regional taxes or tax base sharing might figure in tax reform efforts under consideration in California.
Kirk Stark is the Barrall Family Professor of Tax Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. Professor Stark’s research focuses on taxation and public finance, with an emphasis on state and local tax policy and U.S. fiscal federalism. His work has examined fiscal disparities among the states, the federal government’s role in state tax reform, and the question of how best to allocate fiscal responsibilities among federal, state and local governments. Professor Stark has regularly testified on state and local tax policy before the California state legislature and has also served on the Board of Directors of the National Tax Association, a nonpartisan organization founded in 1907 to promote the study of tax policy and public finance. In 2008, he was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, and he served as Vice Dean for Faculty Development at UCLA School of Law from 2010-2013.


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The views and opinions expressed during this lecture are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of UCCS.

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