This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book analyzes several issues of local government finance that most textbooks tend to skim, thereby encouraging students to consider the complex relations that concern local officials, the vagaries of city finance, and the effects of fiscal appropriation and expenditure on the distribution and exercise of political power at the local level. It describes the tax revolt at the local, state, and federal levels and discusses its impact on budgets burdened with long-term commitments. The book explains the operations of the market, the actors within it, and the uses to which it is put and explores the political consequences of the municipal bond market for local government. It focuses on the role played by the state in local government finance and concerns a different kind of tension–that between local need and congressional politics in the allocation of federal grants.