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Federalism

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What is a federal form of government? What image do you have of when you think of federalism? \Do you think of the federal level of government? State government? Local governments? All three?

Layer Cake, Marble Cake....21st Century View: Intergovernmental Relations

Do democratic governments need to be organized as federal systems? Great Britain has a Unitary form of government
How does this differ from the U.S.?

Powerful central government with federal or central government mandates (laws) that are implemented (put into place) throughout the whole country= Unitary govt.

Examples: National Health Policy throughout the whole country so that you can go from city to city in Great Britain and use your health card at any hospital. (Portability of health insurance in U.S.: can get care anywhere in our country)

Current American example of an issue that is being discussed as a national issue: elections
Should we have Congress pass federal rules for identification, times polls are open, voting ahead of time, etc.?
Do you personally tend to look to the federal government to solve problems in the U.S. ?

(synonyms for federal govt.: national govt. and central govt)
OR
Do you tend to focus on your state government or on your city or county (local) government?

We do not have good political theories of when federal minimum national standards are appropriate and when decentralization to states and/or local government are appropriate.

Liberals traditionally look to national govt. <----> Conservatives focus on state’s rights/local
Centralization: minimum national standards Decentralization to states: devolution Also Decentralization to local level
We will consider:

1. What are the implications of federalism for who wins and who loses? (Politics)

2. What are the implications of federalism for policy making for Civil Rights, Education, Environmental, Social Welfare, Civil Liberties and other policies?

3. What are the implications of federalism for participation and democracy?

4. Why is Fiscal Federalism emphasized by political scientists and not just economists? (Fiscal Federalism is a huge research field: It’s the money! Follow the money!)

It is important to consider centralization vs. decentralization in the U.S. examining govt. funding

Federal Intergovernmental Relations: State (Layer cake) Fed/State/Local all mixed together (Marble cake) Local Policy Implications of Federalism? * Do we want to decentralize to either states (devolution) or local levels of govt? * Or are there some policy areas that should be the same across the whole country? * If the federal govt. requires something (special education or the Americans for Disabilities Act) should the feds pay for it? If not, the states and cities complain about unfunded mandates.

1. Civil Rights: Which level of govt should decide? Federal set “minimum national standards?” * Voting Rights? Eliminate Poll Tax? * School Integration? Fair Housing? 2. Education: Elementary, Secondary…..College

Traditionally, this has been our most decentralized policy area.

American federalism has emphasized decentralization with education left to locally elected School Boards to determine (Decentralize to local level?) * appropriate books in public schools, * make budgeting decisions regarding non-mandated programs (art and music instruction, number of sports teams, etc) also

Decentralize to states to (Remember decentralization to states = Devolution) * set teacher certification requirements by state education departments (called the Department of Public Instruction in Wisconsin) * other examples? and

more centralized, federal mandates (laws requiring state and/or local government action such as federal mandates for * Special Education, * Title IX, * Pres. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act = problem with the testing, curriculum emphasized (math and reading to the detriment of history, etc.?)

We have had years of studies (“A Nation At Risk,” etc.) indicating that students in the U.S. are behind their peers in other countries.
Do we agree we have a problem with public education in the U.S.?
What are the education issues you think are important in the U.S.?
What level of government (or mixture of levels?) should tackle these problems? Implications of federalism for who wins and who loses? = Politics

Any strategy for change must determine which level of government to focus on: federal, state and/or local level?
We do not have good political theories of when federal minimum national standards are appropriate and when decentralization to states and/or local government are appropriate.

Implications of federalism for policy making for Civil Rights, Education, Environmental, Social Welfare, Civil Liberties, etc.?

Implications of federalism for participation and democracy?

Pro’s and Con’s of Federalism and Policy Making: 1. Federalism permits diversity (lets S&L who are familiar with their own problems, handle things their way) 2. Federalism disperses power = protection against tyranny 3. Federalism increases political participation 4. Federalism eliminates the bureaucracy, red tape, delays, confusion that would occur if every govt activity was controlled by a central govt Con’s of Federalism: 1. Federalism allows special interests to protect their privileges. For ex., segregationists used the argument of “states’ rights” to avoid federal laws designed to guarantee equality and prevent discrimination. Con’s of Federalism continued: 2. Federalism allows local leaders to frustrate and obstruct national policy. (not only civil rights, energy, poverty and pollution) 3. Federalism allows the benefits and costs of govt to be spread unevenly. (Ex: Education spending can be twice as much in California as in Wisconsin; and also inequality within states) 4. Federalism obstructs national issues and minorities usually can expect better treatment by national agencies than S&L

Fiscal Federalism Which level of government should be making policy decisions? How can we hold local governments accountable for spending decisions when they don't raise the money?

Grants-in-aid: Dollars transferred from one level of govt. to another level of govt.

Categorical Grants-in-aid (Project Grants) Block Grants - Federal to Local - Federal to State govt. - Federal Local nonprofit agencies & - then States to Local govts. Community Action Agencies (CAA's) - Community Development Block - Must write grant application (Grantsmanship) Grant (known as CDBG) - Many federal strings attached (go to neediest, not to all - fewer strings attached and it is federal agencies that decide recipients) - 80% of $ go automatically to - One year only then must reapply cities of 50,000+ - 20% to smaller communities who must apply (Need to hire a grant writer) -grant $ for 5 years so can plan General Revenue Sharing Revenue Sharing in Wisconsin (during Nixon and Reagan presidencies)*** (Current issue in 2010 state budget and in our most election for governor) - Federal to Local - State to Local - Automatically sent quarterly*** - Also automatic - 5 year program and then renewed - Biennial budget period (2 yrs.) - No strings attached except hold public hearings - Cities rely on it so they don’t have - Cities loved it because could spend without to raise property taxes raising the local property tax ***No need for each community to write a grant proposal for the $ ***See opinion article in D2L under federalism: Example of proposal to set up Federal Revenue Sharing Program due to 2010 state budget crises Purposes of Grants (not just financial) 1. to establish minimum national standards 4. stimulate experimentation and demonstration of new approaches 2. equalization of resources 5. improvement of state/local administrative structure and operation 3. to improve substantive adequacy of state and local programs Arguments For and Against Grants-in-aid Pro Grants-in-aid: 1. allow states and localities to do more for their citizens than they can afford with their own resources. 2. enables national government to provide technical assistance to state and local governments. 3. grants-in-aid are a way the federal government can be responsive to social needs not politically strong in many cities and states

Cons of Grants-in-aid: 1. grantsmanship results when governments must hire grant writers out of their limited budgets 2. the matching requirements have resulted in communities putting matching $ into projects that are not priority items simply because the lure of the federal government paying 90% and local only paying 10% of the cost. 3. Local govts. can know best what their needs are, but be swayed by the promise of federal $.

Examples: 1) Belle Fouche, SD Feds paid 90% of the cost for a new airport runway used by wealthy ranchers who owned their own planes, but at that time the part-time local govt. had a $25,000 budget and allocating the 10% match (for $10,000 for the airport runway happened at a time when other programs have greater need, but no grant funds available). 2) Homeland Security Grants = La Crosse and other 50,000-100,000 urban areas vs. large cities 3) La Crosse County Hummer example (lots of negative publicity in 2007).

Federalism Visualizer Pol 101

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