Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This study was undertaken for a variety of reasons. Among them are: the conflict which general revenue sharing plans have created, their potential for impact, the magnitude of public expenditures involved, the need for additional research expressed by several responsible parties, and a personal interest. Hopefully, the findings of this study will stimulate similar research in other states. Methodology consisted of research into the federal system, the grant-in-aid process, the revenue and expenditure history of New Mexico, and proposals for general revenue sharing. A questionnaire was devised to solicit information on general revenue sharing from various government levels within New Mexico. Results were tabulated, analyzed and are discussed. The thesis assumes that our federal system is one which requires that all duly constituted governments which comprise the total system, be competent in their own jurisdiction. Several proposals have been advanced to reverse a perceived trend toward strong central government which has weakened the other parts of the system. Among these proposals is the general revenue sharing plan of 1969. This Nixon Administration scheme follows closely earlier proposals of certain prominent economists. This study differs from prior studies of the impact of general revenue sharing. A questionnaire was used to gather current attitudes at a level previously ignored. The use of historical data as a base is used only to compare results. The attitudes, backgrounds, and positions of those at various levels of government in New Mexico form the basis for examining the potential success or failure of the plan. The level of inquiry is the several "governments" within New Mexico. To my knowledge, this represents the first attempt to gather and analyze information relative to general revenue sharing, at a level lower than an aggregated state-local level. Findings indicate a general acceptance of the revenue sharing concept at all levels. However, a significant percentage of respondents indicated no prior knowledge of the proposal as presented. There were indications that revenue sharing was viewed as capable of having a significant impact in New Mexico while the specifics of this impact remain in doubt. The most significant findings were those related to wide variances in preference concerning the functional uses to which shared revenues should be put. Different levels of government in New Mexico have significantly different priorities. These findings tend to support the position that national programs often do not reflect local needs and preferences. At the same time, however, they tend to discredit the use of state-level expenditure history in predicting the functional categories in which local governments will spend "stringless" funds.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member

David H. Hemming

Third Committee Member




Document Type