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State Fiscal Structure and Economic Development Policy

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This essay adds a new dimension to the debate concerning taxes and business location decisions by raising a simple, but perhaps underappreciated point concerning political implications of state and local fiscal structure for state economic development policy. Low taxes may well be attractive to business owners and their employees; however, a fiscal structure that is not incentive-compatible with economic expansion may end up frustrating public policies of all types aimed at promoting growth. Economic growth may be seen as increasing types aimed at promoting growth. Economic growth may be seen as increasing demands for public services, thereby placing upward pressure on tax rates faced by the original taxpayers. In Wyoming, this problem is compounded because the tax base is narrow and highly income inelastic and the incidence of taxes levied falls significantly on out-of-state residents who do not benefit from public services provided. Additionally, prospects for reducing the mismatch between taxpayers and public service beneficiaries appear to be limited because, quite understandably, state residents do not wish to pay more for public services for which they have historically paid cents on the dollar.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wyoming, Laramie

Publication date: March 1, 1998

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