To shift programs to a lower level of government without providing the means with which to pay for those programs.
shift and shaftn.
The Colorado Municipal League's Sam Mamet coined the term 'shift and shaft' to describe this process back in the Reagan era, when the feds began shifting many of their responsibilities to the states — and shafting them by not also forwarding the money to pay for those programs.
Many states, including Colorado, countered that federal game by simply shifting those responsibilities on down to city and county governments — without including anything squalid, like money to pay for them, of course. But local governments are the end of the line and have no place else to shift their responsibilities to. They either have to find some way to fund the orphaned programs laid at their doorstep or take the heat from local voters for eliminating them.
—Bob Ewegen, "Shift and shaft game clobbers counties," The Denver Post, December 7, 2002
But he described the state budget as a list of "shifts and shafts." Butte County is part of a coalition of local government groups formed to fight the effects of budget cuts on smaller agencies.
—Michelle MacEachern, "Williamson Act changes will hit Butte hard, Glenn worse," Enterprise-Record, May 16, 2002
According to an NGA report issued at the start of the conference, nearly a third of the $ 35 billion cut from the 1982 federal budget is coming out of state aid. In the 35 states that use federal guidelines to determine taxable business income, an additional $ 2.3 billion in corporate tax revenues will be lost as a result of Reagan's tax program. The net effect, charged Brown, is that of a "shell game" that "shifts the burden of federal cutbacks to state and local government." Bill Krause, aide to Wisconsin's Dreyfus, was even blunter: "We aren't getting more powers, just more bills. Shift and shaft."
—Claudi Wallis, "Gee Thanks, Ronnie, but . . .," Time Magazine, August 24, 1981