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A Bibliography on Local Government in
British Columbia - Continued
Local Government Finance
Municipal government financing has received more attention in the
general Canadian literature than any other local government topic.
There are several major, inter-related concerns. First, there is the
allocation of responsibilities and the fund-raising capacities of
the three levels of government (do they match up?). Here it is
generally argued that the "own source" revenues available
to municipalities, mainly from the property tax, are not adequate.
This, it is often argued, is because it is politically impossible to
raise property taxes indefinitely. Moreover it is also debatable
whether it is appropriate to tax property to finance services which
have little to do with benefits to property owners. It may be argued
that certain functions should be carried out by other levels of
government as a way of easing the financial situation of
municipalities, but it is more often argued that municipal
governments need access to more funding.
The second theme is the advantages and disadvantages of different
sources of revenue. With respect to "own source" revenues,
the choice between property tax and other taxes (such as income
taxes) is important, but a more critical theme outside Canada. Of
the property tax, its regressivity and its economic effects are key
issues. Property tax relief, such as B.C.'s Home Owner Grant
program, is also a concern. Much of the additional funding comes in
the form of conditional grants from the provinces. On the one hand,
a conditional grant can ensure that certain standards of service are
maintained across a province but, on the other hand, it can distort
municipal spending priorities. Municipalities are understandably
more fond of unconditional grants, but provincial governments,
equally understandably, like to have some say in how the money they
supply is spent. Further complications arise because of the position
of the federal government. Constitutionally, municipalities are a
provincial responsibility, but many federal policies have an impact
upon municipalities, and it may be argued that the federal
government should supply some kind of direct or indirect funding, or
participate in joint programs. Provinces generally frown on the
prospect of direct federal-municipal relations, because this could
interfere with their control over municipalities.
A third theme is that municipalities have limited room to
manoeuvre because of restrictions on how they can raise funds and
what tasks they are permitted to undertake. It may be argued that
certain social issues and economic development initiatives can most
effectively be handled by municipal governments, which are closer to
the problems, and can move faster than the larger and more
bureaucratic provincial and federal governments. Lack of funding is
not the only issue here, but it is a significant one.
A. General Canadian Works
Auld, D.A.L. and Lorraine Eden.
"A Comparative Evaluation of Provincial-Local
Equalization." Canadian Public Policy 13 (Dec. 1987):
515-28. Discusses data from 7 provinces and explains why B.C. and 2
other provinces were excluded.
Beedle, A. Accounting for Local Government
in Canada: The State of the Art. Research Monograph no. 2.
Vancouver: The Canadian Certified General Accountants' Research
Bird, Richard M. Charging for Public
Services: A New Look at an Old Idea. Canadian Tax Papers, no.
59, December 1976. Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1976.
Bird, Richard M. The Growth of Government
Spending in Canada. Canadian Tax Papers, no. 51, July 1970.
Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1970.
Bird, Richard M. and N. E. Slack.
Residential Property Tax Relief in Ontario. Ontario
Economic Council Research Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto
Press for the Ontario Economic Council, 1978. Includes broad
Bird, Richard M. and N. Enid Slack.
Urban Public Finance in Canada. Toronto: Butterworths,
Bossons, John, Michael Denny,
and Enid Slack. Municipal Fiscal Reform in
Ontario: Property Taxes and Provincial Grants. Toronto: Ontario
Economic Council, 1981. See especially "Property Tax Reform.
What is Desirable?" by John Bossons, 9-88.
Brown-John, C. Lloyd, Andre LeBlond,
and D. Brian Marson. Public Financial
Management: A Canadian Text. Scarborough, Ont.: Nelson Canada,
1988. Useful for general background; pages 50-52 deal specifically
with local government.
Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation.
Value for Money in Municipalities: A Practitioner's Guide to
Municipal Comprehensive Auditing. Ottawa, 1984.
Canadian Public Policy, (Journal) II Supplement,
1976. Contains articles on property tax reform.
Canadian Tax Foundation. Provincial and
Municipal Finances. Biennial.
Graham, Katherine A. Local
Government Financial Management and Accounting: A Research Framework.
Research Monograph no. 3. Vancouver: The Canadian Certified General
Accountants' Research Foundation, 1981.
Hanson, Hugh R. and Jean-Pierre
Boisclair. The Role of Auditing in Canadian Municipal
Administration: Practices, Perceptions and Challenges. Ottawa:
Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation, 1983.
Hobson, Paul A. R. The Economic Effects of
the Property Tax: A Survey. Ottawa: Economic Council of Canada,
Kitchen, Harry M. Local Government Finance
in Canada. Financing Canadian Federation series, vol. 5.
Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1984.
Krause, Robert and Trevor Price.
"The Impact of Financial Restraint on the Provision of
Municipal Services in Canada." Planning and Administration
13 (Spring 1986): 58-63.
Meng, Ronald and W. Irwin Gillespie.
"The Regressivity of Property Taxes in Canada: Another
Look." Canadian Tax Journal 34 (Nov.-Dec. 1986):
Richmond, Dale E. "Some Common Issues in
Provincial-Municipal Transfer Systems." Canadian Public
Administration 23 (Summer 1980): 252-68.
Tindal, C. R. and S. Nobes Tindal.
Local Government in Canada. 2nd ed. Chapter 10. Toronto:
McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1984.
Tri-level Task Force on Public Finance in Canada.
Report of the Tri-level Task Force on Public Finance.
Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services, 1976. 3 vols. Chairman: John
B. Works about British Columbia
Allen, Douglas W. "Evidence of 'Tax'
Farming: Tests Using Differential Land Assessment for B.C.
Farms." Canadian Public Policy 11, no. 4 (1985):
B.C. Municipal Yearbook. "The Red
Baskerville, Peter A. "Finance Capital and
the Municipal State: The Case of Victoria, British Columbia,
1910-1936. " Studies in Political Economy 21 (Autumn
Bish, Robert L. Local Government in British
Columbia. Chapter 12, Finance. Richmond, B.C.: Union of British
Columbia Municipalities in cooperation with the University of
Victoria School of Public Administration, 1987.
Bradbury, Betting. "The Road to
Receivership: Unemployment Relief in Burnaby, North Vancouver City
and District and West Vancouver, 1929-1933." M.A. thesis, Simon
Fraser University, 1975.
British Columbia. Commission of Inquiry on Property
Assessment and Taxation. Preliminary Report of the
Commissioners July 30, 1976; Relating to Property Assessment and
Taxation. Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1976. Chairman: Robert
British Columbia. Joint Study Committee on
Provincial-Municipal Finances. Report on
Provincial-Municipal Finances, Province of British Columbia.
Prepared for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Executive of
the Union of British Columbia Municipalities by the Technical Group
of the Joint Study Committee. Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1970.
British Columbia. Ministry of Finance. Taxation
and Economic Development: Background Information for a Consultative
Process. Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1984.
British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Variable Tax Rates: A Guide for Implementation. 2nd. ed.
Victoria, 1984. This was done as an implementation manual. It
relates to the Variable Tax Rate System (different property tax
rates for different property classes: residential, business,
industry, etc.) introduced to B.C. in 2 stages in 1983 and 1984. The
system is important and unique in Canada.
British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Policy
and Research Branch. Municipal Boundaries and the
Taxation of Large Industrial Enterprises. Prepared for the
Boundary Extension Task Force. Victoria, 1982.
British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Policy
and Research Branch. Spatial Implications of Provincial
Grants and Subsidies to Local Areas. Prepared by Vischer
Skaburskis, Planners, June 1980, updated May 1981. Victoria, 1981.
British Columbia. Royal Commission on Municipal Taxation.
Report of the Municipal Taxation Commission, 1933.
Victoria: Mimeograph Department, Government Printing Bureau, 1934.
Chairman: A. M. Harper.
Dragushan, Graham, N. G. The Assessment and
Real Property Taxation of Farms in British Columbia. Victoria:
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Farmland Resources Branch,
French, Patricia. "Practicing Planner: The
Vancouver Legacies and Gifts Program." Plan Canada 28
(May 1988): 80-81.
Heikkila, Eric. Report on
Provincial-Municipal Revenue Sharing. Prepared for Director of
Finance, City of Vancouver, March 1983. Vancouver: City of
Kitchen, Harry. "Home-Owner Grants." Canadian
Tax Journal 15 (Jan.-Feb. 1967): 63-67. Includes discussion of
McFadyen, Stuart. "British Columbia's
Home-Owner Grant Program: Has It Reduced Property Taxes?" Canadian
Tax Journal 18 (Sept.-Oct. 1970): 420-34.
McFadyen, Stuart. "British Columbia's
Home-Owner Grant Program: Its Impact on the Allocation of Resources
and the Distribution of Income." Canadian Tax Journal
18 (Nov-Dec. 1970): 533-39.
Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia.
Seminiuk, Larry James. "Compliance Costs
Arising from the Home Owner Grant." M.P.A. report, University
of Victoria, 1984.
Skaburskis, Andrejs. "Criteria for
Compensating for the Impacts of Large Projects: The Impact of
British Columbia's Revelstoke Dam on Local Government Services. Journal
of Policy Analysis and Management 7, no. 4 (1988): 668-86.
Smith, R. S. "A Comment on Home-Owner
Grants and Resource Allocation." Canadian Tax Journal
19 (Jan-Feb. 1971): 78-79. A response to the McFadyen articles (see
Stinson, J. G. and A. V. Gray. Analysis
of Municipal Costs in British Columbia. Report prepared by J.
G. Stinson and A. V. Gray, AVG Management
Science Ltd., for the Department of Municipal Affairs, Feb. 12,
1971. Vancouver, 1971. Copy in the Local Government Research Library
of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture.
Stone, Marguerite. "Influence of the
Homeowner Grant on School District and Municipal Spending in British
Columbia." M.P.A. report, University of Victoria, 1983.
Thomas, Robert Douglas. "A Budget Manual
for British Columbia Municipalities." M.B.A. thesis, University
of British Columbia, 1956.
Union of British Columbia Municipalities. The
Municipal Picture in British Columbia: A Report of the Union of
British Columbia Municipalities. Prepared by T. J. Plunkett
Associates. Montreal, 1971.
Union of British Columbia Municipalities. Report
on Municipal Taxation and Financial Matters, 1973.
Wales, T. J. and E. G. Wiens.
"Capitalization of Residential Property Taxes: An Empirical
Study." Review of Economics and Statistics 56 (Aug.
1974): 329-33. Uses data from Surrey.
Walisser, Brian E. Fiscal Impact of
Residential Growth: British Columbia: Methodology and Case Study.
Victoria: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Research
Watters, Dean D., ed. Local Government in
British Columbia. Contributors: Bill Kennedy, Richard
Taylor and Dean Watters. A joint
publication of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the
Municipal Officers' Association of British Columbia, 1987.
Please send any comments or questions to Nicola.Marotz@gov.bc.ca
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