The Emergence of State Government: Parties and New Jersey Politics, 1950-2000

The Emergence of State Government: Parties and New Jersey Politics, 1950-2000

The Emergence of State Government: Parties and New Jersey Politics, 1950-2000

The Emergence of State Government: Parties and New Jersey Politics, 1950-2000

Synopsis

State governments have increased their responsibilities since the 1950s. Change in New Jersey has been particularly dramatic. In 1950 there were no major state taxes and very little aid to local governments. Since then the state has adopted an income and sales tax, several increases in those taxes, and major increases in aid to local governments. This study tracks this major shift in the state's role, focusing on the interaction of changing notions of fairness, party differences in electoral bases, and the impact of recessions. Party interactions are crucial to explaining cumulative change. Democrats, with a less affluent electoral base, consistently, if very reluctantly, responded to social problems, recessions, court rulings, and enacted state tax increases. Tax enactments often put critical Republicans in power in the next election. Republicans, faced with heavy criticism from Democrats, largely left tax enactments in place, resulting in a steadily growing role for state government.
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