Policy, Performance and Management in Governance and Intergovernmental Relations Transatlantic Perspectives
Edited by Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer and Ellen Wayenberg
Chapter 14: Distributing Benefits and Burdens: Assessing Performance of the US Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer System
14. Distributing benefits and burdens: assessing performance of the US intergovernmental fiscal transfer system Jeremy L. Hall1 INTRODUCTION: THE US INTERGOVERNMENTAL TRANSFER SYSTEM The US system of intergovernmental fiscal transfers impacts local places differently. Because competitive grant funding is the combined result of federal programs and local decisions to pursue federal grant support, the effects depend not only on the federal funding criteria, but also on local capacity to pursue funding and local strategy for financing needed projects. Local strategies might vary in terms of the extent to which they rely on internal versus external sources of funding, and the extent to which they utilize current revenues rather than debt instruments to finance projects. Extreme reliance on external funding has been characterized as dependency (Hedge 1983; Stein 1981, 1984). Because federal funding impacts places differently, the systematic impact of federal funding is not uniform. In the realm of performance measurement, actors at each level characterize their goals, and thus their performance differently (what Koppell (2005) refers to as multiple accountabilities disorder). Federal agencies are accountable with regard to the funding process, and local recipients are accountable for the performance of their projects or programs. If local projects are funded with federal money accountability extends to federal agencies as well as to local stakeholders. Given these traditional accountability foci at each level, the systematic impacts of the federal funding system go overlooked. Because responsibility is shared, accountability is diffuse and the systematic effects go unmeasured and unnoticed (what Romzek & Dubnick (1987)...
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