International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

mately 30 percent of total public spending. After peaking in 1977 at 39.4 percent, the national share has continued to decline as a percentage of the total.

Capital outlays have fluctuated more than noncapital outlays since the mid-1950s. Noncapital outlays tend to grow each year; capital outlays have had a pattern of rising and falling during the same period, although capital investment has increased each year since 1982. Though national infrastructure spending has always been dominated by highway spending, the focus in the 1970s was relatively more toward wastewater treatment, transit, and water supply. In the 1980s and 1990s, the national funding shift has been back to highways and to aviation. Compared to national spending, state and local infrastructure spending has changed little since the 1970s in most categories of infrastructure, although there were some increases in mass transit, aviation, and water resources. The projected national budget as the next decade approaches would cut surface and air transportation funding and have most national spending for highways, transit, rail, and aviation come from a single unified account. This would give state and local governments more decisionmaking control over investments.

BEVERLY A. CIGLER


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cigler, Beverly A., 1988a. "Political and Organizational Considerations in Infrastructure Investment Decision-Making". In Thomas G. Johnson, Brady J. Deaton, and Eduardo Segarra , eds., Local Inftastructure Investment in Rural America, pp. 201-213. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

-----, 1988b. "Rural Infrastructure Research Needs" In Thomas G. Johnson, Brady J. Deaton, and Eduardo Segarra , eds., Local Infrastructure Investment in Rural America, pp. 233-244. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Congressional Budget Office, 1995. Public Infrastructure Spending and an Analysis of The President's Proposals for Infrastructure Spending from 1996-2000. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Budget Office (June).

National Science Foundation, 1993. Public Infrastructure Research: A Public Infrastructure Research Agenda for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. Washington, D C: National Science Foundation (April).

INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM . Two types of political processes that empower citizens to take direct control of lawmaking. Collectively, initiative and referendum are basic forms of direct democracy that provide the means for voters to either override an act of the legislature or to bypass the legislature altogether. An initiative allows voters to introduce a law for approval at the polls; a referendum allows voters to approve a law proposed by the legislature. In the United States, initiative and referendum apply only to state and local governments, as no provision exists for direct citizen lawmaking at the national level. Direct democracy at the national level is more common

in European countries. France, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden, for example, allow referenda to decide major policy issues.

American voters have used the initiative and referendum at the state level to decide upon an increasing number of important and often controversial policy issues. Early in this century, several western states approved women's suffrage through the initiative, and Nebraska voters used the citizen initiative in 1934 to establish the only unicameral state legislature. In recent years, citizens have voted whether to impose the death penalty, restrict the use of nuclear power, limit school busing, allow gays to teach in public schools, decriminalize marijuana, and decide how much government can tax its citizens. More and more, tough policy questions are being decided in the polling booth instead of the legislative chamber.


The Initiative

In cities, states, or counties that use the initiative, anyone may draw up a proposed law. For the law to be voted on, a predetermined number of voters must sign a petition favoring it, usually about 10 percent of the eligible voters. Once the petition is approved, the proposed law goes to the public vote, in the case of the direct initiative, or, in the case of the indirect initiative, voters petition the legislature to enact a measure that otherwise will be placed on the ballot if the legislature fails to approve it.

Laws providing for the initiative vary greatly from state to state, and no two states have identical initiative systems. Of the 24 states allowing the initiative, the number of signatures required for a successful petition ranges from a low of 2 percent of voting-age population in North Dakota, to 15 percent in Wyoming. Five states ( Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and Wyoming) require the legislature to consider an initiative before it can be placed on the ballot. Six states ( Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) allow only statutory initiatives. Florida allows only constitutional initiatives.


The Referendum

Most city charters and state constitutions provide for a referendum to allow a proposed law to be placed on the ballot at the next general or special election. All states except Alabama hold constitutional referenda on proposed amendments. Twenty-five states allow for a statutory referendum giving citizens the power to approve or override laws passed by the legislature or proposed by initiative.

The use of the referendum continues at a high rate. In recent years, hundreds of state constitutional amendments and thousands of local issues have been subjected to voter referenda. Referenda calling for voter approval on state legislation have been less frequent and usually fall into two categories: referenda dealing with changes to government

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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