links for 2010-12-02

  • "…local governments have increasingly been expected to take on many more roles than was the case in the past. However, while the roles and responsibilities of municipal governments have grown, the revenue tools and fiscal environment have become more constrained.

    Just over 30 years ago, the BC government distributed substantial amounts of revenue to local governments on the basis of equalization principles. However, due to fiscal choices made at the provincial level, the municipal financing system has actually reverted back to less supportive principles. In addition, many less affluent BC communities often have pressing demands for supportive services, while at the same time having a lesser capacity to meet the costs.

    …pressure is put on revenues by increased competition for investment and human capital. Other challenges for government include more complex social conditions, emergency preparedness and public safety, growing environmental problems, and other challenges."

  • "Irish citizens may bring down the bailout of foreign bank creditors by voting at the ballot box, but if they do not, they will bring about a default of some kind by voting with their feet. We now face a negative spiral in which austerity causes emigration, which increases the burden of the debt, which ultimately leads to more austerity. We need a game-changer to break the cycle, but what might it be? Since the fundamental problem is that Ireland is insolvent, the smart thing to do is to tackle our debt burden head-on, but the Europeans have vetoed this.

    Iceland is an obvious model for us. In a referendum, her voters have already rejected a proposal to pay back their banks’ creditors, who will take major losses. Now they have elected a constitutional assembly charged with drafting a new constitution. Ireland probably needs this more than does Iceland; I wish I were more confident that we will follow the latter’s example."