Governments as Interest Groups: Intergovernmental Lobbying and the Federal System

Governments as Interest Groups: Intergovernmental Lobbying and the Federal System

Governments as Interest Groups: Intergovernmental Lobbying and the Federal System

Governments as Interest Groups: Intergovernmental Lobbying and the Federal System

Synopsis

State and local governments emerged as important interest groups in the 1960s, as that decade witnessed a rapid expansion of federal social programs administered at the state and local levels. The 1970s and 1980s were distinguished by attempts to give states and localities more responsibility over such programs. The present day is marked by an even more purposeful return of responsibility and policymaking to state and local governments, both because of severe deficits at the federal level and an ideological shift toward federalism. This work examines the impact state and local governments have had and can have on the federal government, asserting that they can be important factors in the creation of policy. The author looks at the intergovernmental lobbying tactics--successful and unsuccessful--of five states and local lobbying groups: the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the NationalGovernor's,Association. Her study will be of interest to scholars and policy-makers at the local, state, and federal government levels.

Excerpt

State and local governments emerged as important interest groups in response to increased federal grants in the 1960s. That decade witnessed a rapid expansion of federal social programs administered at the state and local levels, while the 1970s and 1980s were distinguished by attempts to give states and localities more responsibility over such programs. The current political environment is characterized by decreasing federal domestic spending, and the economic environment is characterized by concerns about federal, state and local debt. Changes in the political and economic environments may influence the system of federalism, and may have an impact on state and local interest groups' effectiveness at lobbying in the federal arena. This study examines the lobbying tactics and success of the five state and local lobbying groups (the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors' Association) during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Many individuals provided assistance and support as I began and completed this work. First and foremost is Dr. William Gormley, my mentor at Georgetown University's Department of Government. Without his encouragement and advice, this book would not have been possible. His support over the years is greatly appreciated. Also at Georgetown University, Dr. Sue Thomas and Dr. Clyde Wilcox supplied encouragement and helpful suggestions. Dr. Walter Berns deserves special mention, because he taught me the art of critical thinking. The Department of Government at Suffolk University provided support during the final stages of the process, and my students there have been a source of motivation for completing this work. I owe a debt of gratitude to the American Political Science Association, whose Congressional Fellowship enabled me to see the process from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Also, I would like to thank the Henry A. Murray Research Center at . . .

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