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FSD2470 Finnish Local Government Barometer 2009: Members of Municipal Councils

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Authors

  • Foundation for Municipal Development

Keywords

councillors, economic recession, local government, local government finance, local government services, municipalities, political parties, privatization, public political influence

Abstract

The survey charted the attitudes of members of municipal councils towards local government finance and municipal service provision, especially in the light of the current economic recession. First, the respondents were asked whether they were worried about various things, such as the low availability of social and health care services, racism and hostility towards foreigners, criminality, unclean environment, traffic noise, and the development of the municipality's financial situation. They were also presented with a list of various objectives and means of saving related to municipal services, finances, and administration, and asked which of them they would accept during the current economic recession. The objectives included raising the municipal tax rate, outsourcing municipal services, and decreasing the quality of municipal services.

Next, the respondents were presented with a list of targets for public expenditure, such as the maintenance of parks and recreation areas, public transport services, support of business, child day care, and cultural services. They were asked which of these targets could be cut down when the municipalities have to reduce their expenditure. In addition, they estimated how various services, such as schools, social assistance, and health care services, were organised in their municipality of residence. They were also asked which of these services must absolutely be organised by the municipality, and which could be organised by the state, private companies, organisations, or the inhabitants of the municipality. Finally, the respondents were presented with a set of attitudinal statements on the allocation and privatising of municipal services and the power of municipal authorities and elected officials.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, party preference, municipality size, and and the regional council in the area of which the municipality is located.

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