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State and Local Government

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No clear separation of functions between levels today. Activities decided by:

  • Who has been doing it
  • Who can afford to do it
  • Who can do it best
    • Economies of scale
      • e.g., National defense
  • Regional impacts
    • e.g., Pollution control
  • Local values and circumstances
    • e.g., Education
  • Quasi-commercial activities
    • e.g., Electric power

Levels of Government and Their Functions

State

  • Welfare
  • Higher education
  • Development/Tourism
  • Highways
  • Correctional facilities

County

  • Administration of unincorporated areas
  • Property tax collection
  • County wide programs
    • Law enforcement--Sheriff
    • Mental health/substance abuse
    • Development/Tourism

City

  • Law Enforcement
  • Land use
  • Municipal services--water, sewer, electricity, bus

Districts

  • Education
  • Water conservation
  • Insect control

Property Tax

  • Two types
    • Real estate--house, lan
    • Personal property--cars, boats
  • Tax base
    • Market value
      • Real estate--value based on:
        • Construction cost
        • Comparable sales
    • Personal property (car)
      • Value based on age
  • Assessed value (value for tax purposes)
    • 55% of market for homes
  • Tax rate
    • Set to yield needed tax revenue
  • Problems with property taxes
    • Costly to administer
    • Regressive
  • Appeals Process (how can people get their property valuations changed)
    • Unfair assessments
    • Hardship situations
      • Old age
      • Disability

Planning and Zoning

  • Problems with unrestricted development
  • Community master plans specify
    • Zoning--proper uses of land, housing types, lot sizes
    • Transportation and recreation plans
  • Planning and Zoning Commissions
    • Functions
      • Approve subdivisions
      • Approve rezones
      • Approve home occupations
  • Process
    • Public hearings and open decision-making

People Vote With Their Feet

  • People are unlikely to leave U.S.But may move between states
  • Several possible acceptable communities in a local area
    • People express their values by choice of a location
      • e.g., Education, environment, & recreation
      • e.g., Bedroom communities around a large city
  • Problems faced by local government
    • Deterioration of inner cities
    • Segregated school systems
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, October 29). State and Local Government. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/university-studies/u-s-institutions/state-and-local-government.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License