Changes of Local Functions and Local Powers in Lithuania 1994–2016
The interconnection of functions and powers at local level in Lithuania during the period of 1994-2016 is analysed in the article. Using the quantitative capacity methodological approach, the authors provide a novel research model based on the analysis of legal documents and statistical data. The analysis of legal documents, mainly the Law on Local Self-Government (1994) and its amendments, reveal the constant growth of local functions since the beginning of the period. However, the substantial part of the state’s delegated functions in the total of the local functions is the first indicator of the ruling influence of state on local government. To prove the limited capacities of local governments the indicators disclosing functional responsibilities and local discretion are calculated. Several trends reveal as the results of these calculations: (i) the steady trend of the deficit of the local budgets, meaning that municipalities have or to increase their debts, or to provide less services, or to provide services of less quality; (ii) the immutably small trend of local expenditures as the part of total general government expenditures and as the part of the GDP, meaning the stagnancy in the growth of functional responsibilities and low level of fiscal decentralization; (iii) the constant trend of significant state’s subsidies, meaning the constrained local discretion. These calculations prove that the increase of functional responsibilities at local level has not been accompanied by the increase of discretion, thus, the main conclusion of the research is that powers of local governments in Lithuania remain constrained despite the increase of functions.