From Revenue Sharing to Deficit Sharing

General Revenue Sharing and Cities

Bruce A. Wallin

"An excellent resource for those interested in how a federal program can be so popular in one decade and yet be allowed to die without a whimper in another."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

Once hailed as a revolutionary change in U.S. federal aid policy that would return power to state and local governments, General Revenue Sharing was politically dead a decade later. Bruce A. Wallin now offers the only complete history of the General Revenue Sharing program — why it passed, why state and local governments used it the way they did, and why it died. He examines its unique role in the history of U.S. federalism and explores its relevance to intergovernmental aid policy at the turn of a new century.

This book is crucial to understanding the changed environment of U.S. intergovernmental relations in the 1990’s and makes a strong case for reconsidering a program of federal unrestricted aid.

Table of Contents


"An incisive analysis of the legislative struggle to institute revenue sharing, the politics of its reauthorization, and finally, its termination . . . an extremely well done case study of intergovernmental relations and the legislative process, offering keen insights into why things happened as they did . . . The book will be a valuable addition to courses in intergovernmental relations. It is a succinct source of information for the intergovernmental specialist, the inquisitive intergovernmental specialist, the inquisitive layperson, and anyone trying to understand the policy process, issue definition, symbols, and coalition building in government."—Perspectives on Political Science

"Contributes to our understanding of intergovernmental aid and its relationship to devolution. Scholars and students of federalism, budgeting, and urban politics should take time to read this book and consider its findings and propositions in light of the role devolution portends for urban policy."—American Political Science Review

"Conveys the essential facts without being overly technical. That approach makes the book an 'easy read' that can be enjoyed by a variety of audiences. These include those wishing to have a basic primer on general revenue sharing, to those looking to track the history of all important federal programs, to those interested in budgeting, administration, and decisionmaking processes that occur in municipal governments."—Public Budgeting & Finance

"Wallin . . . has firsthand knowledge of the topic . . . informative."—Choice

"An excellent resource for those interested in how a federal program can be so popular in one decade and yet be allowed to die without a whimper in another."—Michael Preston, professor and director, Center for Multiethnic and Transnational Studies, University of Southern California

"Provides a fresh insight into the profound changes in the intergovernmental system."—Michael Pagano, professor of political science, Miami University


Supplemental Materials


Winner of the 1999 Dennis Judd Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association

About the Author

Bruce A. Wallin is an assistant professor at Northeastern University. He was senior research analyst at the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

176 pp., 6 x 9

Oct 1998

176 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-699-9
Oct 1998

176 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-327-8
Oct 1998

American Governance and Public Policy series
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors

Related Titles