Urban Fold

Is Local Governance Being Eroded By States?

Anecdotes about states usurping the power of cities to tax, spend, and regulate abound. But does the sum of these anecdotes add up to a systematic shift away from local governance? A new study attempts to answer this question, reports Eric Jaffe.

In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of Urban Affairs Review, government scholars Ann Bowman of Texas A&M and Richard Kearney of North Carolina State report on the results of a study they conducted to explore this question with a number a local and state authorities. According to Jaffe, "they report that cities indeed have experienced a general 'erosion of authority at the hands of their state governments' over the past decade, though only a modest one."

"In short, several local actors, particularly city managers, believe local authorities have lost a modest share power in the past ten years, and that state mandates have inhibited local policy efforts to some degree. State legislators, meanwhile, tend to believe the power distribution hasn't changed too much. Bowman wasn't too surprised at the results - she'd found a similar trend in work published last year - and if anything she expected state and local positions to be more polarized."

Full Story: Are Cities Losing Power to States?

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