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Openess and Transparency of Fiscal Reporting in Poland – Assessment and Recommendation

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to answer the question of whether fiscal reporting (more precisely, financial reporting of public finance sector entities (PFSE)) earnestly expressed the results of activities (information included is reliable, understandable and complete), and provide suggestions on how to increase openness and transparency in that field. First of all, the essence of openness and transparency of public finance is described. Then the international institutions involved in preparing and promoting international fiscal transparency standards and guidelines are indicated. Next are noted the most important reasons for limited openness and transparency of financial reporting of PFSE. In the end, actions are recommended to increase openness and transparency. Results are presented of theoretical studies on the basis of related literature, the reports by the Supreme Audit Office in Poland and the authors’ own experience connected with preparing formal opinion for two houses of Polish Parliament. Simple research methods are used such as descriptive analysis and also inferential and inductive thinking.

Open access
Risks in the Investment Activity of Polish Regions

Abstract

Investment activities executed by regional authorities are exposed to high risk. The risk results from the very essence of investment projects implemented by regions in Poland and can be associated with the failure to meet the regional budget. The purpose of this study is to assess the size of the existing discrepancies between the planned and actually incurred investment expenditure and to find out if there are systematic changes in the level of these discrepancies i subsequent years. This goal was achieved through the presentation of the specific approach to risk measurement in the investment activities of local government units. The research was undertaken by regional self-government units. Empirical research has allowed us to answer three research questions: how great were the disparities between the planned and the actually incurred investment costs in the Polish regions in 2011-2015? Did systematic changes in the level of inconsistency between the planned and the actually incurred costs take place in the observed period? Was the rate of failure to meet investment plans correlated with the rate of failure to meet operational financial plans?

Open access
The Fiscal Effects of Economic Immigration on Subnational Government Finance in Poland

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to analyse the effects of economic immigration on subnational government finance (SNG) in Poland. The goal to achieve is to answer the following research question: what are the fiscal effects of immigration on SNG budget revenues and expenditures. To answer this question, logarithmic models were developed. The analysis refers to the years 2007-2016. In this respect, data from Statistics Poland - referring to budget revenues and expenditures of communes, cities of district status, districts and voivodeships - were used. As far as immigration statistics are concerned, data from the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy were used. The results indicate an increase in both revenues and expenditures of SNG as a result of immigration. Such results can be explained inter alia by the nature of migration - research were focused on economic immigration. Results confirm that the level of employment of foreigners is one of the determinants shaping the fiscal effect of immigration. Moreover, the impact of economic immigration on SNG budget revenues and expenditures depends on the structure of this budget. This explains the differentiated results of the analysis of the impact of immigration on SNG in different countries. The positive correlation between immigration and SNG revenues in Poland can be associated with a high share of subnational governments in personal income tax revenues as this tax is one of the main categories of SNG revenues. Furthermore, results show that the impact of immigration on local government budgets in Poland is modest. This confirms the conclusions drawn by other authors (e.g. Auerbach and Oreopoulos), that in the long term, immigration cannot be considered as a potential instrument for resolving fiscal imbalances.

Open access
Determinants of Public Indebtedness in European Union Countries

Abstract

The paper strives to determine the impact of fiscal variables on factors determining the dynamics of public debt in European Union countries. Based on the literature, the dynamics of public debt are determined by changes of three elements: the primary balance, interest-rate-growth-differential and the change of government assets. Therefore, it seems reasonable to estimate the dynamics of these three values to find the variables crucial for limiting the growth of public debt. Three groups of dynamic panel regressions were estimated based on the one-step Generalized Method of Moments. The data was collected for the 1995-2015 period for 27 EU countries. Dependent variables included: primary balance, interest-rate-growth-differential and change of government assets. Independent variables consisted of: interest payable to GDP ratio, unemployment rate, squared unemployment rate, FDI stock to GDP, net FDI inflow to GDP, general government expenditures to GDP, share of social security expenditures and openness of the economy measured by the ratio of export and import to GDP. On the basis of statistical data, three components of debt changes were distinguished, and estimations of the dynamic panel regressions were applied to find the impact of independent variables. According to the basic models, the primary balance is lower for: countries with higher unemployment, greater FDI stock and higher general government expenditures. The interest-rate-growth-differential is lower in the case of: high subsidies and for a more open economy. However, unemployment and FDI remain the most important determinants of this variable. The change of government’s assets ratio decreases as FDI net inflows or the share of expenditures to GDP increase as well as in the case of very high unemployment.

Open access
Partial Fiscal Decentralization and Local Government Spending Policy

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyze how limits in revenue and spending autonomy of sub-sovereign governments influence their decisions. Revenue and spending autonomy indicators for Polish towns were established and used in analysis on school education expenditures during 2003–2016. The influence of limits on revenue autonomy on municipal spending has been extensively addressed in both theoretical and empirical literature. However, studies related to spending autonomy are rare. The analysis presented in this paper suggests that when limits exist in spending autonomy, more decentralized tasks are crowded out by regulated obligations. That is why the spending autonomy analysis is important to evaluate the equity between local units and the adequacy of local revenues to decentralized expenditures.The basic principle of local finance is that there should be an adequate relationship between the financial resources available to a local authority and the tasks it performs. However, in practice, the assessment of whether this has been achieved is very difficult. Often, only problems with the solvency of local governments indicate that we are dealing with a poorly constructed system of local finances. The expenditure autonomy indicator proposed in this article is a tool that provides a way to indicate problems with the adequacy of revenues before such anextreme situation occurs.

Open access
Local Political Business Cycles and Administration Spending in Polish Local Governments

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: The purpose of this article is to verify the hypothesis of the occurrence of political business cycles at the self-governmental level in Poland.

Materials and methods: The article presents a quantitative analysis of expenditures on remuneration in the administration of Polish self-governments at the county (district) level (in the period 2007–2018) and at province (regional) level (in the period 1999–2018) with the use of Arellano-Bond and LSDVC estimators.

Results: The panel data analysis makes it possible to conclude that in Polish self-governments cyclical fluctuations of expenditure on remuneration can be observed. The increase in salaries depends on the power of the ruling coalition as well as unemployment and the output gap in a region. In the case of provinces and counties, also the increase of investment expenditures significantly affects the increase of salaries.

Conclusions: The results of the estimation of models clearly point to the presence of cyclical distortions in remuneration in public administration, which are caused by the upcoming elections.

Open access
Budget transparency innovation in the Czech local government

Abstract

Budget transparency innovations bring new extent and forms of transparency. The aim of the article is to explore the diffusion of budget explorers, that is, a budget transparency innovation extremely popular in the Czech Republic, and to evaluate their impact on voluntary budget information disclosed.

Careful mapping of the diffusion using a survey of budget explores in 72 former Czech district towns and media analysis shows that the key success factor was its convenience for politicians, as it is attractive, easy to implement and up-to-date demonstration of their transparency. Budget explorers are nowadays a standard extension to accounting software, and their usage is evaluated in several government transparency competitions.

The major benefit of the budget explorers is that they made for the first time publicly available detailed public financial information, changed the standard of best practice and drew some public attention. At the same time, they, unfortunately, narrowed the scope of the budget transparency debate by omitting the importance of the draft budget and introduction of performance measurement.

Open access
Consequences of Fiscal Adjustment and Public Finance Management. The Costs of Limiting the Fiscal Imbalance in Eurozone Countries

Abstract

This article focuses on the effects of corrections to the budgetary policy in eurozone economies. The goal of the text is to check if advancement in implementing modern tools of public management is helpful in the time of fiscal adjustment. We assume that the most important role of a performance approach in conducting fiscal policy is the ability of government to implement active policy meant as structural changes in the composition of public expenditures. In the case of the need to cut general levels of public spending, public sector managers who have knowledge of performance effects of public policies should be able to conduct fiscal adjustment in such a way as to minimise negative outcomes of spending correction on society. The structure of the text is as follows. First, we present some insights on the economic effects of fiscal adjustment. Then, we discuss the concept of performance management presented in the theory and policy agendas of international institutions such as the European Union or the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Finally, we present the result of an empirical exercise that is designed to combine the level of advancement in implementing performance budgeting (PB) and the social cost of fiscal adjustment in eurozone economies. The most important finding of the research is that PB tools seem to have very limited usefulness in a time of fiscal adjustment. There is no statistical evidence that countries advanced in utilisation of PB tools conduct more active fiscal policy – approach of cutting all expenditures across the border by given percentage rather than looking at priorities and social outcomes of fiscal adjustment dominates in all cases.

Open access
A Real Or a Marginal Trend in Participatory Budgets in Local Governments

Abstract

The purpose of the article is analysis of participatory budgets as a tool for shaping decisions of local communities on the use of public funds. The authors ask the question of whether the current practice of using the participatory budget is actually a growing trend in local government finances or, after the initial euphoria resulting from participation, society ceased to notice the real possibilities of influencing the directions of public expenditures as an opportunity to legislate public policies implemented. It is expected that the conducted research will allow us to evaluate the participatory budget and indicate whether this tool practically acts as a stimulus for changes in the scope of tasks under public policies. The authors analyzed and evaluated the announced competitions for projects as part of the procedure for elaborating participatory budgeting for selected LGUs. Then, they carried out an in-depth analysis of the data used to assess real social participation in the process of establishing social policies.

Open access
Recurrent Property Taxes in Communal Budgets – Identification of Types of Communes and their Spatial Differentiation

Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to identify differences between Polish communes as regards their revenues from property taxes. To this end, we distinguished and described types of communes with similar configurations of features under analysis (incomes from real property tax, agricultural tax and forest tax). In the research procedure, we applied methods of multidimensional analysis, with particular emphasis on cluster analysis. The research was conducted on the basis of aggregated (to eliminate random fluctuations) values of income from properties in the years 2013-2015. On the basis of typological classification, we distinguished six clusters (groups) of communes of different quantitative characteristics of budget revenues from property taxes. We identified specific regularities in the distribution of the distinguished commune types.

Open access