I have argued that the states should have clear responsibility for a specific set of services, including education and other public investments needed to increase the productivity of the American economy. States are better able to experiment and adapt to the special needs and strengths of their areas. They are more apt to command citizen loyalty and participation than faraway Washington.
Anyone who advocates increased reliance on states to improve public services, however, must address the question: Where will the states get the money? State governments have been struggling to meet the rising cost of public programs and have often encountered strenuous public resistance to tax increases. Budgetary stress in state capitals reached crisis proportions in the recession of 1990-92, when a large number of states were forced to cut spending and raise taxes in the face of mounting deficits.