TOPIC #8 -- FEDERALISM -- AID, PREEMPTION, MANDATES & RESTRAINT

Report
FEDERALISM:
Aid,
Preemption,
Mandate &
Restraint
GRANTS-IN-AID
Money paid by
one level of
government to
another level of
government to
be spent for a
given purpose
T YPES OF GRANTS
 Categorical grants are those grants targeted for a
specific purpose by either formula or project
 Formula grants are distributed according to a particular
set of rules; who is eligible and how much will they
receive
 Project grants are awarded on the basis of competitive
applications to perform a specific task or function
 Example: Smaller Learning Communities
 Block grants are awarded for general purposes allowing
the recipient great discretion in spending the grant
money
GRANTS-IN-AID
 Redistributed tax dollars to the state and local governments
 Formulas used to distribute grants can be highly political
 All grant money has strings attached
 Strings can ensure the money is spent for the designated purpose;
determine the effectiveness of the grant; achieve some broad
national goal not always attached to the purpose of the grant
GRANTS-IN-AID: DRINKING AGE
If states did not raise their drinking age
to 21, Congress threatened to reduce
their highway funding
South Dakota v. Dole (1987)
Court ruled that Congress could not
mandate a national drinking age, but
they could offer an incentive for states to
adopt a higher drinking age
CONDITIONS OF AID
Attached to federal grant money given to
the states
If states don’t want the strings, they can
opt to not take federal money
PROBLEM. . .
Conditions can be specific
i.e. environmental impact statements
CONDITIONS OF AID
Federal government believes it is
obligated to develop uniform national
policies and to ensure the states do not
misspend federal funds
States feel certain conditions do not take
local conditions and costs into account.
Did someone say free money??
PREEMPTION
Power of Congress to enact laws by which the
national government assumes total or partial
responsibility for a state function
Example: Nutrition Labeling & Education Act
(1990) – established national standards for
food labels, stripping the states of their power
to impose food label requirements
Prevents states from requiring added
information to labels
MANDATES
 Federal rules states or localities must obey
 Funding is not necessarily linked
 Example: civil rights
 Mandates can be vague allowing federal
agencies to decide what states and localities
are supposed to do
 Example: Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted
with no clear cut explanation of what “equal access”
means, how the law was to be administered or how much
it would cost the states
MANDATES
 Can also be either be inadequately funded by
the federal government or completely unfunded
 Example – No Child Left Behind
 Unfunded Mandates Relief Act (1995) –
requires the Congressional Budget Office to
prepare cost estimates of any new legislation
that would impose more than $50 million/year
on state and local governments or more than
$100 million/year in costs on private
businesses
RESTRIANT
Forbids state governments from
exercising a certain power
Example – Bus Regulatory Reform Act
(1982)
Forbade the states from imposing
conditions that would restrict bus service
to out-of-the-way areas
AS A RESULT . . .
Due to the many conditions attached to
federal aid, some states have found ways
to improvise
Turn over trash collection to private firms
Encourage welfare recipients to take get
jobs
This led to a devolution of federal power
to the states by the 1990’s

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