Center for American Progress

Innovating Fiscal Policy To Power Enduring Rural Prosperity
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Innovating Fiscal Policy To Power Enduring Rural Prosperity

Mark Haggerty discusses the shortcomings of current fiscal policy design and explores the potential for policy redesign at all levels of government to better sustain rural communities reliant on natural resource industries.

After decades of global and domestic industrial and economic restructuring – a process that has concentrated wealth and employment growth in cities – rural America is struggling. Even so, rural America today generates tremendous value for the nation. In fact, non-metro counties continue to produce vital commodities and contribute substantially to the national GDP. And increasingly, rural assets, knowledge and innovation are advancing creative resource-based local and regional economies tied to national climate, equity and conservation goals.

However, too much of the value that rural communities and people produce for others is largely decoupled from improving prosperity locally. The fact that producing value is no longer a guarantee of reliable employment is already a well-known dilemma. What is less understood is how the design of fiscal policy at the state and federal levels can do damage to rural economies now as well as their potential for the future. Indeed, the critical role that fiscal policy and public finance play in the urban-rural wealth gap is invisible to many and largely underappreciated.

The above excerpt was originally published in the Aspen Institute. Click here to view the full article.

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Mark Haggerty

Senior Fellow, Energy and Environment

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