fiscal emergencies. Each level of government being responsible for the provision of public goods constitutionally assigned or justified for regional or economic reasons – depending on the spillover of benefits (externalities) produced by such public goods –.
The modern concept of Public Finance has changed such clear-cut definitions, due to several factors, most of them bound to the evolution of government's objectives and, in many cases, due to changes of the strategic attitudes of policy makers in the administration of public money. A non exhaustive list is:
1) The appearance and development of “transfer expenditure” ("negative taxes"), bound to redistributive goals (of growing magnitude since World War II); 2) Government regulations that are equivalent to fix taxes and subsidies, like labor regulation, the used of “clean technologies” on behalf of certain industries, quantitative restrictions, and other equivalents policies; 3) Tax expenditures, like exemptions, special tax deductions, tax rates differentiation, and other taxation advantages granted to certain taxpayers changing the amount of the liability according with the tax law. This is equivalent to force the payment of the tax and at the same time to subsidize such taxpayer with a transfer included in the public budget. 4) The appearance and increasing modalities of public debt: transitory loans and money emission by central banking to finance the Treasure; open market operations to regulate the price of the public bonds; subsidies or loans with negative effective interest rates from central baking to the banking sector; and rate of exchange insurances covering exchange risks of the private sector and government's entities, essentially aiming to facilitate the entry of foreign currencies and foreign direct investments to the country. These are measures equivalent in their economic effects to the establishment of taxes and subsidies, but through administrative mechanism outside government budgets. 5) “Contingent debts” and “unfunded mandates or unfunded liabilities”, a sort of “not registered debt”: credit operations of public entities guaranteed by the national government with high probability of default of these entities, regulations of pension systems that generate “induced debt” when its cash flow design violate the appropriate actuarial equation; labor and commercial operations of government's entities with the private sector, generating judicial demands against the government with high probability of success. This policy measures equivalent to fix operative expenditures and explicit subsidies for such concepts in the government’s budget. 6) The creation of “fiduciary funds” that are financed with “financial applications” of supposed governments' surplus, with low probability of money recovering, and whose management eludes normal budgetary controls. 7) The so called “creative accounting”, registering operations as surplus applications, while subsidizing public entities, national or sub-nationals, instead of exposing that expenditures as “primary expenditure” (“above the line”) of the budget.
In case of federations like Argentina, important changes have been also introduced in the conception of Public Finance relative to fiscal federalism:
1) The existence in the central government's budget of “national expenditures” that imply "local public goods", which should be primarily financed by sub-national governments; 2) The creation of “common funds” (common pools) through tax sharing or revenue sharing systems in substitution of local or provincial own taxes, according to constitutional design of taxing power assignment between level of governments.