Tax Levy Financing for Local Public Health

Relationships Between Fiscal Allocation, Fiscal Effort and Fiscal Capacity

This study examines property tax levy (local tax levy) as a source of local health department (LHD) funding during a five year period (2006-2010) in all Minnesota counties by assessing fiscal effort, fiscal allocation and fiscal capacity.

Local health departments rely on pluralistic funding from local, state, federal and private sources. However, local tax levy funding is unexplored and little is known regarding the extent of fiscal allocation (tax levy used for LHD), fiscal effort (potential amount of tax levy available for LHD), and fiscal capacity (wealth of community). More important it is not known to what extent variation between local jurisdictions fluctuated over time, how they are offset by declining funding from other sources, or whether other sources supplement total tax levy reductions. It is essential to explore these issues to provide a basic understanding of fiscal drivers for ongoing services.

Our findings indicate that from 2006 to 2010 the local tax levy for public health as a percent of total local health department expenditures decreased 6.7 percent, while local tax levy for public health as a percent of total tax levy decreased 14.6 percent. However, during this time period the total per capita tax levy for all services increased 25.2 percent.