Tax Levy Financing for Local Public Health

Fiscal Allocation, Effort, and Capacity

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This study demonstrates that local tax levy support for local public health services is falling behind local tax support for other local government services.

The Issue:
Local health departments (LHDs) are funded by multiple sources. Funding from these sources can fluctuate year to year. This article examines an important funding source for public health—the tax levy.

Key Findings

  • Total per capita expenditures for all LHDs in Minnesota increased 13 percent from the base year, rising from $50.98 in 2006 to $57.63 in 2010.

  • However, the local tax levy for public health increased by 5.6 percent over the 5-year period, as compared to the overall tax levy increase in Minnesota of 25 percent.

Conclusion:
This study demonstrates that local tax levy support for local public health services is falling behind local tax support for other local government services. More examination of local public health funding as a function of fiscal allocation (local tax levy); fiscal effort (tax capacity); and fiscal capacity (community wealth) is required.

About the Study:
Five-year trends (2006-2010) in local tax levy funding for health departments in Minnesota were examined using data from four governmental databases.