Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest
After briefly discussing the problem of competition and the claims of new regionalists, this Article will track the development of school finance reform, including the recent success of plaintiffs in asserting claims seeking adequacy in education, rather than simply equity in funding. It will show that school districts’ traditional reliance on local property taxes has been effectively lessened by state equalization. This Article will examine two states where significant changes in school equity occurred in the 1990s: Kentucky and Michigan. This Article will conclude by noting that some form of litigation strategy together with public education and organizing could advance the possibility of regional reform in other areas, such as municipal finance, regional land use and/or governance issues. Finally, the Article will argue that the collaboration necessary to build a school and municipal equity coalition can also be used to build a coalition on land use planning and regional governance.
Infrastructure in the US is generally financed through sub-national capital financing vehicles, termed municipal bonds, which encompass the issuance of bonds by state and local governments, their agencies and quasi-public bodies generically termed special districts. While the term comprises issuers other than municipalities, the first bond of this trail-blazing genre was issued in 1812 by New York City. This pioneering debt instrument was a general obligation bond, which meant that it was backed by the taxing power and tax revenues of the issuers. Read more in this comprehensive account of municipal finance.
This empirical account of equity issues uses metro Baltimore, MD and the Camden, NJ region to set forth a broad range of analytical units and their proper assessment tools. In addition to detailed prescriptions about promising strategies, Rusk sets forth the raw materials for understanding and reforming complex state and local governmental arrangements that contribute to persistent inequity.