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For the Many or the FewThe Initiative, Public Policy, and American Democracy$
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John G. Matsusaka

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226510811

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226510873.001.0001

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Conservative or Liberal

Conservative or Liberal

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 5 Conservative or Liberal
Source:
For the Many or the Few
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226510873.003.0005

The initiative is a fiscal conservative's dream. During the period 1970–2000, it cut the overall size of government measured by revenue or expenditure and removed spending authority from the hands of distant state governments and gave it to local governments, which probably curbed intrastate redistribution. It also switched revenue out of broad-based taxes and into user fees, forcing those who benefit from government services to pay for them. It is interesting to view the initiative as an inherently conservative device. This chapter reports evidence suggesting that such a view is probably incorrect. The initiative's conservative influence during 1970–2000 is better seen as a response to idiosyncratic features of the political environment. The chapter investigates how the initiative affected state and local fiscal policy in the early twentieth century, specifically 1902–42.

Keywords:   revenue, broad-based taxes, expenditure, government services, conservative policies, fiscal policy

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