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Guide to Local Government Finance in California
Guide to Local Government Finance in California Author:Michael Multari, Michael Coleman, Kenneth Hampian, Bill Statler The Guide to Local Government Finance in California provides a unique look at local government finance that covers not only the vital fundamentals like budgeting, accounting, and investing but also lesser known yet equally powerful forces that affect the ability of cities, counties, and special districts to deliver essential services. Focusing o... more »n the unique and complex nature of finance in California, the Guide to Local Government Finance in California answers questions such as:
What are the best practices in budgeting?
How do developers and cities size up the economics of potential projects?
What are the pressures that often push government costs beyond the annual inflation rate?
Why do labor force costs consume such a big piece of budget pie?
What is the outlook for reform in California and what principles should guide reform?
Appendices offer a step-by-step process for preparing, reviewing, and adopting a city budget and tips for presenting financial information in meaningful ways. The Guide to Local Government Finance in California is an essential resource for public agency managers and other staff, including planners and policy analysts, as well as appointed and elected public officials, teachers, students, and citizens at large who want to understand and improve California s complex system of local government finance. For more than a generation, California has used a complicated system to provide services to its citizens that relies heavily on local governments in delivering them. Yet the money needed to fund those services is largely controlled by the state government. This disconnected system has been manageable when the economy is robust and revenues from taxes and fees are flush. Adequate money can hide a lot of systemic problems. Whenever the economy sputters, however, the profound weaknesses of the system are glaringly exposed. And in recent years, the economy has been sputtering more often than not. As a result, there is deep disaffection with state government - a disaffection that ripples across local government too - triggering almost incessant calls for reform by California citizens. But most citizens, it is fair to say, do not really understand the financial system that they rail against. And who can blame them considering the byzantine structure and arcane rules of public finance in California? The primary purpose of this book is to provide a solid foundation for those who are interested in better understanding and navigating the complexity of California local public finance. This will not only result in better decisions within the current broken system but will also help in reforming and improving it. To do so, this book provides a broad overview of local government finance in California: the structure of government service delivery; the responsibilities of different types of local governments; the sources of revenues and their limitations; the fundamentals of public budgeting and accounting; and the ways money can be borrowed to build infrastructure. Such an overview requires some grounding in the convoluted history of the relationship between the state and local governments. It must also touch on topics that are fundamental to both an understanding of the problems and the possibility of reform, such as labor relations and the fiscal implications of development. Guide to Local Government Finance in California, with its broad scope of topics, benefits from the perspectives, experiences and expertise of multiple authors, including especially practitioners in the field who appreciated not just the technical issues, but the cultural, historical and political elements as well. The result is a useful primer regarding local government finance in California and contributes toward much-needed reform of the system.« less