Debt Brake Will Intensify Bracket Creep Problem
As taxpayers typically pay relatively little attention to low levels of inflation induced income tax bracket creep, policy makers tend to regularly postpone correction of this problem. Eventually, however, the fiscal illusion fades away, and political pressure for tax relief arises once the cumulative increase of the average tax rate exceeds a critical threshold. Using Germany as an example, it is shown that bracket creep can provoke revenue cycles in public budgets that hinder governments’ compliance with the numerical budget rules. An indexation of the tax tariff, which would provide an automatic correction for bracket creep, could prevent such fluctuations and thus provide a favourable framework for the debt brake.
Bracket Creeps: Bane or Boon for the Stability of Numerical Budget Rules?
IWH Discussion Papers,
As taxpayers typically pay low attention to a small inflation-induced bracket creep of the income tax, policy-makers tend to postpone its correction into the future. However, the fiscal illusion fades away and political pressure for a tax relief arises since after some years the cumulative increase of the average tax rate exceeds a critical threshold. Using Germany as an example, this paper shows that bracket creeps can provoke revenue cycles in public budgets hindering governments’ compliance with the numerical budget rules. An indexation of the tax tariff could prevent such fluctuations and thus provides a favourable framework for the debt rule.
Shadow Budgets, Fiscal Illusion and Municipal Spending: The Case of Germany
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper investigates the existence of fiscal illusion in German municipalities with special focus on the revenues from local public enterprises. These shadow budgets tend to increase the misperception of municipal tax prices and seem to have been neglected in the literature. Therefore, an aggregated expenditure function has been estimated for all German independent cities applying an “integrated budget” approach, which means
that revenues and expenditures of the core budget and the local public enterprises are combined to one single municipal budget. The estimation results suggest that a higher relative share of local public enterprise revenues might increase total per capita spending as well as spending for non-obligatory municipal goods and services. Empirical evidence for other sources of fiscal illusion is mixed but some indications for debt illusion, renter illusion or the flypaper effect could be found.
Local Public Utilities' Profits and Municipal Expenses in Germany: An Empirical Analysis
Proceedings of the 99th Annual Conference on Taxation (November 16-18), Washington DC,
German municipalities are currently struggling with growing budget deficits and other financial hardships. From a public choice point of view it seems tempting for vote-maximizing local governments to raise revenues from sources which create fiscal illusion or allow tax exports. An increasingly important revenue source of this kind are profits of local public utilities. In this paper we try to fill an empirical gap and provide data of the development of the profitability over time for selected German local public utilities. Furthermore, we develop and estimate a municipal expenditure function for a panel data set of large German cities . We found some slightly positive relationship between per capita expenses of the municipality and the disposable per capita profits of the local public utilities. This indicates that probably the German municipalities – according to our theoretical considerations – tend to burden their citizens as well as non-voters outside their boundaries with implicit taxes to satisfy their increasing financial needs.
Revenue Boosting Instruments in Municipal Finance from a Public Choice Perspective
Diamond, J. (ed.), Proceedings. 98th Annual Conference on Taxation, Miami, Florida, November 17-19, 2005 and Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the National Tax Association, Thrusday, November 17, 2005,
German municipalities are currently struggling with growing budget deficits, decreasing revenues, and rising expenditures. We argue that from a public choice perspective local politicians under financial pressure might prefer fiscal instruments that minimize the local voters' resistance and create fiscal illusion. According to Germany, suitable sources of additional revenues include the reallocation of revenues from the local business tax between the levels of government and increased profitability of local public utilities. Revenue Data from 1992 to 2004 indicate that changes in the relative significance of the net local business tax revenues are rather caused by changes in the share of the federal government in the revenues ('Gewerbesteuerumlage') than by changes in the local tax multipliers. Furthermore, we find a significant rise in profits of local public utilities in large German cities.