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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 Foundation, 1981.

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 theoretical discussion.

Bird, Richard M. and N. Enid Slack. Urban Public Finance in Canada. Toronto: Butterworths, 1983.

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, 1987.

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): 1417-1430.

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 J. Deutsch.

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): 659-64.

B.C. Municipal Yearbook. "The Red Book." Annual.

Baskerville, Peter A. "Finance Capital and the Municipal State: The Case of Victoria, British Columbia, 1910-1936. " Studies in Political Economy 21 (Autumn 1986): 83-106.

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 A. McMath.

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, 1986.

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 Vancouver, 1983.

Kitchen, Harry. "Home-Owner Grants." Canadian Tax Journal 15 (Jan.-Feb. 1967): 63-67. Includes discussion of B.C.

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. Annual Report.

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 above).

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 Branch, 1978.

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.

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