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Cities' Revenue Declines

CITIES in the United States face declining revenue even though they are raising taxes and fees to meet budget problems that often are caused by a loss of federal funds, the National League of Cities reported yesterday. Half of the 362 cities responding to the organization's survey said their spending is outpacing revenue in 1989, and 57 percent said their revenue growth is not keeping pace with inflation.

The imbalances persist even though 69 percent of the cities raised fees and charges for municipal services last year, 41 percent raised property taxes, 36 percent imposed new fees and charges, and 10 percent instituted new taxes, the report said.

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Alan Beals, executive director of the league, said the statistics from the group's seventh annual survey of fiscal conditions show what happens when state and federal officials say ``no new taxes.''

``The burden is shifted, the taxes are shifted, and the cities get clobbered,'' he said. The league survey was based on questionnaires sent to fiscal officers in 828 US cities, including all cities over 50,000 and a sampling of smaller ones.

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