Currently most subnational government borrowing in the United States is done via tax-exempt muni bonds. But they are riddled with problems. They are inefficient at delivering the subsidy, and they create economic distortions of investment choices. They are inequitable, and they have significant democratic deficiencies. Direct payment Build America Bonds (BABs) provide an alternative, as they directly pay a cash subsidy to a subnational government. While there are simple technical problems that can easily be remedied, BABs face significant political hurdles that will prevent the permanence of the program. Policy entrepreneurship is a way forward. The piece also discusses how the type of analysis used here can also be used on other tax expenditure matters.
- Municipal Bonds,
- Build America Bonds,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/blaine_saito/1/