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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

State and Local Government Law

2009

Revenue

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State Finance In Times Of Crisis, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick Sep 2009

State Finance In Times Of Crisis, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As recent events illustrate, state finances are pro-cyclical: during recessions, state revenues crash, worsening the effects of economic downturns. This problem is well-known, yet persistent. We argue here that, in light of predictable federalism and political economy dynamics, states will be unable to change this situation on their own. Additionally, we note that many possible federal remedies may result in worse problems, such as creating moral hazard that would induce states to take on excessively risky policy, both fiscal and otherwise. Thus, we argue that policy makers should consider so-called “automatic” stabilizers, such as are found in the federal tax ...