Tax Aspects of Fiscal Federalism


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"If we look back at the beginning of the 20th century, a survey of the forms of state (or of government) proves to be quite simplified. The French Revolution and the American War of Independence begot, respectively, the unitary state and the federal government which are, to a great extent, different ways of constituting the indissoluble base of any government, i.e. the relationship between authority and liberty. Needless to say, these outcomes are the effect of various historical, social and economic traditions. If we shift our attention to nowadays, the image has changed completely. The dichotomy between unity and federalism has been upset by regional forms of state (or of government) and new regional supranational actors have appeared on the scene. The new framework is, thus, fragmentary and not always clear ... There is no doubt that this evolution has involved - and probably has been influenced by - the financial relationships between the centre and the local tiers of government. Since taxation was considered a quality of sovereignty, only the (original) sovereign bodies could exercise the power to tax. Once again, it is easy to grasp how simplified the original framework was. In particular, the problem of the allocation of financial resources among the different levels of government was an issue exclusive to federal governments insofar as the (member) states retained (original) sovereignty ... The coming of the regional states and the European Union has questioned these conclusions and led back to the discussion over the allocation of the authority to tax to the origins. In other words, fiscal federalism is, nowadays, also a matter involving unitary (and regional) states. This book claims to tackle this evolution although, like any other scientific instrument, it does not aim to give solutions but, on the contrary, to try to systemize the issue and raise questions ... fiscal federalism is one of the solutions to the organization of polity."--Foreword.

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