Toward Fiscal Sustainability in Thai Local Government: Lessons Learned from Local Fiscal Management Practices in Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, and United States

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This paper compares and assesses the fiscal management strategies used by local authorities in Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. This comparative survey seeks to identify the salient attribute of each country’s local fiscal policy and demonstrates how Thai local governing bodies can adopt those strategies to improve their overall fiscal health. This paper suggests that fiscal sustainability in Thai local government can be attained by embracing each system’s core principle. The Thai national government could follow the Canadian federal government example by devolving more administrative responsibilities to local government units, while maintaining several essential regulatory functions, such as rectifying regional disparities and imbalances in public service provision. Following the Japanese model, Thai local government ought to diversify their revenue sources to ensure adequate funding for public service delivery and community development. The Korean case demonstrates that a carefully designed property tax system can raise a substantial amount of revenue for local government and prevent speculative land ownership. The American system emphasizes citizen participation and fiscal transparency (i.e., traceability of how tax money is levied, collected, and spent). The French model resolves potential conflict of interest issues among local elected officials by charging the highly skilled professionals with policy analysis, financial auditing, and accounting."