Earmarking is the practice of assigning revenues from specific taxes or groups of taxes to specific government activities or to broader areas of government activity. As such, it contrasts with general fund financing where monies are pooled to be used for various government purposes. In practice, earmarking has come into being via statute or via constitutional clauses mandating that certain revenues only be used for specified activities. Governments often circumvent the intentions of earmarking by withholding funds or failing to change prices or taxes or, if need be, simply suspending the earmarking arrangements. One section of this report reviews the Bank's attitude toward earmarking and then summarizes its experience with a number of road funds in developing countries.
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