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Sort[Ition]Ing Out Local Government Financial Sustainability

PAQ, Vol. 44 No. 2, 262-287 (2020)

Many local governments across the globe are facing financial sustainability challenges. Notably these challenges have emerged under extant democratic political institutions where the voice of the wider citizenry is often muted, and only heard at infrequent intervals and then in the context of assessing potential representatives according to a bundle of issues. Fiscal institutions such as balanced budget legislation and debt brakes may mitigate some of the financial sustainability problems faced by local government, but are often less than entirely effective owing to the acts of clever politicians who circumvent the spirit, if not the letter, of constraints. We propose a concurrent change to political institutions – specifically the addition of a bi-cameral sortition chamber – which we argue will inter alia enhance the efficacy of fiscal institutions implemented to arrest waning local government financial sustainability by introducing greater accountability, closer monitoring, and a more expedient pathway for censure and enforcement.

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