Author: David Swindell
Local Government Options in the Era of State Preemption
Local governments have historically faced such challenges as increasing demands for service, limited
fiscal resources, and contending with economic forces beyond their control. Still, local governments remain a primary engine of innovative government services and enjoy high levels of resident trust. In recent years, state legislatures have encroached on the ability of local governments to meet these challenges and have become increasingly intrusive in local affairs. Reports by the National League of Cities (NLC)1 as well as the Local Government Research Collaborative,2 a partnership of ICMA, the Alliance for Innovation, and the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University, have found significant changes in state-local relations, including: 1) a sharp increase in the number of states
involved with this movement, and 2) an increase in the overall number of limitations placed on local governments by their state legislatures. What options do local managers and elected officials have as they try to tailor local public services to the needs and preferences of residents? This article provides an overview of this changing environment and highlights the array of actions available to local governments as they respond to state limitations.
Swindell, D., Svara, J. and Stenberg C.”Local Government Options in the Era of State Preemption”