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FINANCIAL DECENTRALIZATION IN BULGARIA:
WHICH ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE TRANSITION PERIOD AND HOW TO MOVE FORWARD?

Desislava STOILOVA*

   Abstract
 The process of gradual administrative and political decentralization in Bulgaria started in 1991 with the adoption of the Local Self-Government and Local Administration Act, but the real financial decentralization process started in the beginning of 2003 with the adoption of a comparatively clear expenditure assignment and introduction of a transparent and predictable intergovernmental transfer system. Basically, a key issue in the design of fiscal federalism is the financing of subnational governments. Because of the advantages of taxation at the central level and spending at the decentralized level during the transition period Bulgaria has often ended up with vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalances. In most of the fiscal years the decentralization of expenditures was not accompanied by equivalent revenue-raising responsibilities and the taxable base was unevenly distributed within the country territory. The purpose of this paper is to study and critically analyze the financial decentralization reform in Bulgaria, outlining the key achievements and basic weaknesses of the local taxation and the intergovernmental fiscal relations.
 

   Key words: financial decentralization, local finance, intergovernmental fiscal relations, local government, local taxation

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* Desislava STOILOVA (dstoilova@abv.bg),  PhD, Aassistant Professor, Southwest University, Blagoevgrad Bulgaria, Faculty of Economics.

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