Governing Partners: State-Local Relations in the United States

By Russell L. Hanson | Go to book overview

2
The Intergovernmental Setting of State-Local Relations

David C. Nice

State-local relations in the United States take place within our federal system. Although federalism has been defined in many ways over the years, for present purposes federalism is a system of government that includes a national government and one or more levels of subnational governments (states, cantons, local governments) and that allows each level to make some significant decisions independently of the other(s). Independence is not absolute; each level may influence the others in various ways. Nonetheless, a federal system enables each level to make some decisions without the approval (formal or informal) of the other level (see Macmahon 1972: 3; Riker 1964: 5; Wheare 1964: chapter 1).

Federalism is an intermediate type of political system. In a unitary system, all decisionmaking power belongs to the national government, and subnational governments do not exist or serve only to implement policies established by the national government. 1 The United Kingdom is a relatively unitary system. At the other extreme, no national government exists and the "subunits" are independent countries. Federalism falls between the two extremes.

Federal systems distribute power and responsibilities in many ways, from systems in which the national government is relatively weak and the subunits are dominant, systems that are often called confederations, to systems placing most of the authority in the national government and leaving the subunits with a relatively minor role. The allocation of powers and duties in a system can change, as it has in the United States, and can vary from one program to another. Responsibilities can be divided,

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Governing Partners: State-Local Relations in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - The Interaction of State and Local Governments 1
  • 2 - The Intergovernmental Setting of State-Local Relations 17
  • Notes 36
  • 3 - State-Local Relations: Union and Home Rule 37
  • Notes 51
  • 4 - Emerging Trends in State-Local Relations 53
  • Notes 74
  • 5 - The Politics of State-Local Fiscal Relations 75
  • 6 - Partners for Growth: State and Local Relations in Economic Development 93
  • Notes 106
  • 7 - The State-Local Partnership in Education 109
  • Notes 137
  • 8 - Environmental Regulation and State-Local Relations 139
  • Notes 159
  • 9 - Untidy Business: Disaggregating State-Local Relations 161
  • 10 - The Politics of State Health and Welfare Reforms 177
  • Notes 198
  • References 199
  • About the Editor 213
  • About the Contributors 215
  • Index 217
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