Publication Date

Winter 1977

Publication Title

University of Chicago Law Review


The United States Constitution contains relatively few provisions explicitly concerned with the authority of the federal government and the states to tax and spend. Nevertheless, an impressive structure of rules has evolved governing the division of fiscal powers and responsibilities within our federal system. These rules include Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Constitution, key framework legislation, and implicit understandings derived from existing practice. Professor Dam constructs a general outline of the resulting American Fiscal Constitution, and provides a contrasting view of the West German fiscal constitution. He also offers some tentative conclusions about how federal grants-in-aid and revenue sharing have affected the distribution of fiscal benefits and burdens within our system.

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