State and Local Government Decision Making have profound effects on Americans’ lives. From taxes and labor market regulations to environmental regulations and zoning laws, these decisions influence where people choose to live and work.
States and local governments create policies for various reasons: to encourage economic growth, protect public health or safety, or provide services for citizens. Unfortunately, policymakers often face competing interests among stakeholders when crafting these regulations.
Business interests might oppose a local tax hike that would pay for new roads or infrastructure. They might also opt against increasing debt to finance a project due to concerns that the municipality is unprepared to shoulder long-term obligations.
However, states and local governments should have some autonomy to make their own decisions without fear of interference from higher levels of government. This concept is known as subsidiarity.
Local governments have a range of powers granted to them by their states, such as controlling land use and accepting or rejecting development applications such as rezonings and variance requests. Furthermore, they may be able to set up and oversee local public utilities like sewers or water systems.