Washington Law Review


James K. Hall


Of the fiscal problems pressing for immediate solution, few are as important economically and socially as the problem of establishing proper working relationships between and among the fiscal systems of the federal, state, and local governments. Today, as in the past, there is a conspicuous lack of coordination and integration among these several revenue systems. Only in recent years has any considerable emphasis been placed on the importance and necessity of visualizing our fiscal problems in perspective—of viewing the problems and issues of local, of state, or of federal finance as integral parts of a related whole. Pragmatic exigencies often have required, apparently, separate and isolated treatment of fiscal problems of some one, or several, political jurisdictions of the same class, as distinct from the other jurisdictions with which there is interrelation of problems. The results demonstrate the basic superficiality and futility of this approach. Until recently, discussions of the financial relationships of our several governments have been largely confined to academic halls and treatises and to some few professional and technical associations. In the last two decades the subject of the relationship of the tax systems of the local governments, the commonwealths, and the nation has attracted an increasing amount of interest from the public, our political leadership, and our academicians. The existing situation is receiving an increasing measure of censure and condemnation. In some cases, considered proposals looking toward reform have been made.

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