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ABSTRACT

The difficulties involved in assessing the meaning of municipal expenditures are examined in view of the fact that dependency upon municipal services varies among and within jurisdictions. A cross-sectional analysis of spending in the five largest cities in Connecticut illustrates how considerations of human needs can affect the interpretation of spending (although they do not alter legal obligations or the financial reality of fiscal conditions). The possibilities and limitations associated with this approach to municipal expenditures are conveyed in terms of questions of public policy.