New Book Shows Taxpayers How To “FOLLOW THE MONEY” of Local Government

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“…a fundamental guide to the local government taxing and spending process.” -- Watchdog News, http://watchdog.org (Oct. 20, 2010)

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This practical, tip-filled book explains that getting involved in local budget issues when the budgeting process begins, rather than on the eve of the final vote, enables citizens to influence how their local revenues are raised and tax dollars are spent.

The recent elections show that Americans -- of all political stripes -- are extremely concerned about where their tax dollars are going. The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) is encouraging them to extend their “watchdog” role by getting more involved and learning all they can about local government budgeting -- the area of government where they can have the most impact, and which impacts them the most.

Although many citizens don’t know where to begin, getting involved is easier than most think, especially with AIER’s new handbook: FOLLOW THE MONEY: A Citizen’s Guide to Local Government.

The practical, tip-filled book explains that getting involved in local budget issues when the budgeting process begins, rather than on the eve of the final vote, enables citizens to truly influence how their local revenues are raised and how tax dollars are spent.

Knowing where and how to obtain budget information; how to read and interpret the numbers; how to identify critical public needs and set government priorities; what questions to ask and how to interact with public officials on fiscal matters are all part of what makes the AIER book a practical roadmap for having an impact at the local level.

Printed copies of the book can be purchased for $10 -- or a PDF of the text can be downloaded from the institute’s web site for $5.

What’s certain is that with the right planning, citizens can hold local governments accountable and can ensure that local officials are prepared for hard economic times when they are hit by rising costs and declining tax revenues. Otherwise, municipalities could face bankruptcy, like Gould, Arkansas, Millport and Pritchard, Alabama, Westfall Township, Pennsylvania, and Vallejo, California, all of which are operating under bankruptcy protection today. Several others, including Detroit and Harrisburg -- Pennsylvania’s state capital -- have been flirting with bankruptcy.

“While local government most impacts the daily lives of Americans, it is the level of government to which most people pay the least attention,” said FOLLOW THE MONEY author Lynndee Kemmet, an AIER Visiting Research Fellow who received her MPA while working as a local government reporter in Southern California.

“It’s also the level of government they can most influence,” she points out. “It is our hope that FOLLOW THE MONEY will help.”

Copies of FOLLOW THE MONEY can be ordered by phone at 888-528-1216. Online orders can be placed by going to http://www.aier.org .

Note to Journalists: For a comp. copy of “Follow the Money” please contact Jennifer Berkowitz at the number below, or by email at Jennifer(at)PRoactiveSolutionsInc(dot)net.

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