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Metropolitan Briefing Book

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Public finance -- Oregon, Finance, public -- Washington, Intergovernmental fiscal relations, Oregon -- Appropriations and expenditures, Washington -- Appropriations and expenditures, Taxation -- Oregon, Taxation -- Washington


Candidates for office, in every place and at every level of government, often talk as if they think they will be able to revolutionize both government services and the local (or state, or national) economy by, in some way, changing the structure of public finance. They’ll improve funding for basic services by prioritizing government spending. They’ll boost the economy by cutting taxes. They’ll replace an outdated, irrational structure by reforming taxes. They’ll make corporations and the rich pay their fair share. Et cetera. A review of the structure of public finance in the Portland metropolitan region suggests that any and all such pronouncements should be taken with a number of grains of salt. The following pages address how Oregon, Washington, the six metropolitan counties, and a sampling of cities and school districts raise and spend money.

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