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100 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
A geographic/administrative subdivision of state gov't
*Rural "branch" of state gov't
Independently incorporated under state law.
Political jurisdictions, such as cities, villages, or towns, incorporated under state law to provide governance to a defined geographic area. More compact and more densely populated than counties
Local gov't units created for a single purpose
*Ex: School, water, airport, & port authorities
Special Districts
The legal principle that says local gov'ts only can exercise the powers granted to them by state gov't
Dillon's Rule
This Amendment said: all power not reserved to the federal govt is reserved to the states, or to the people.
Tenth Amendment
Describe the effect (good or bad) of Dillon's Rule.
State legislatures have been enthusiastic about employing Dillon's Rule
Describe the effect (good or bad) of Dillon's Rule.
State legislatures have been enthusiastic about employing Dillon's Rule
The right of localities to self-government, usually granted through a charter.
Home Rule
In effect of Dillon's Rule, states grant localities with the power to what? (3)
1. Restructure themselves
2. Tax
3. Take on additional functions (building codes)
Numerous cites & counties have petitioned state legs for this as a way to overcome the contraints of Dillon's Rule.
"home rule"
Document that outlines the powers, org, and responsibilities of a local gov't
Home rule can be granted in 2 basic forms:
1. General act charters
2. Special act charters
Charters that grant powers, such as home rule, to all municipal gov'ts within a state.
General Act Charters
Charters that grant powers, such as home rule, to a single municiple gov't.
Special Act Charters
Elected chief executive of a municipality.
* 43% power
*strong and weak mayor systems
Official appointed to be the chief administrator of a municipality.
City Manager
The legislatures of county gov't
*aka county commissioners, supervisors, selectmen, county board members, or judges
Board of Commissioners
A municipality's legislature
City counsil
A form of municipal governance in which there is an elected executive and an elected legislature.
*One of the most common forms of municipal governance
Mayor-council system
* 43% of US cities use this system
A form of municipal governance in which executive, legislative, and administrative powers are vested in elected city commissioners
Commission System
A form of municipal governance in which the day-to-day administration of gov't is carried out by a professional administrator.
City Manager System
A mayor with the power to perform the executive functions of gov't.
- have authority to make appointments, prepare budgets, veto council decisions
Stong Mayor System
*Most common in NE and MidWest
A mayor who lacks true executive powers; render a mayor's symbolic figure, with the real power being weided by members of the city council.
Weak Mayor System
This system differs from mayor-council systems in that these have both executive AND legislative powers.
Commission Systems
*policymaking authority & serve as head of city depts
Compare the leg and exec roles of county commissioners, city mayors, and city councils.
Commissioners: policymaking similar to city council, but serve as heads of city depts
Mayor: elected chief executive
City Council: municipality's legislature-powers to city manager
Political & administrative subdivisions of a municipality
Administer a single program or service.
Most common: school districts, sewer & water systems, port authority, and transportation (BART-San Fran & DC Metro)
Special Districts
Special districts are implemented as a way of heading off threats of political ____ (the incorporation of additional land into a municipality) of one local gov't by another.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Special Districts?
Advantage: They assure each neighborhood of having a local on the city council who knows their streets & residents by name.
Disadvantage: ?
A region made up of several municipalities that form a district urban area.
A cluster of office & retail complexes with no clear boundaries.
Edgeless cities
Unlike national elections, local elections are usually this, where council member run in ward/district elections and at-large elections.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of at-large elections?
Advantage: makes room for a greater pool of highly qualified & talented people, who look at the interests of the city as a whole.
Disadvantage: Redistricting, requiring a switch from at-large to 14 members chosen by districts
Elections in which voters in a municipal ward vote for a candidate to represent them on a council or commission.
Ward, or district, elections
Elections in which city or county voters vote for council or commission members.
At-large elections
Describe local elections interms of turnout, partisan ship, and the # of women and minority candidates
-Less than 1/2 the national turnout
- Minorities are working their way into public office
-Woman have made great gains (far from proportion as half the total pop)
The money gov'ts bring in, mainly from taxes.
A measurement of taxes paid
Tax Burden
A tax on income
Income tax
A tax leveied by state and local gov'ts on purchases.
*Primary source of state revenue*
Sales tax
aka. focused consumption taxes bc dont have to influence consumer behavior
When the money coming into the govt falls below the money being spent
Budget shortfall
What are the 6 major types of taxes used to fund state & local gov't operations?
(Nearly half of all state revenue comes from these)
1. sales tax (including excise taxes)
2. Property tax
3. Income tax
4. Motor vehicle tax (car registration fees)
5. Estate taxes
6. Gift taxes
Taxes levied on a person's estate or total holdings after that person's death
Estate Taxes
Taxes imposed on money transfers made during an individual's lifetime
Gift taxes
What factors contribute to variation in tax systems across states?
Enviromental constraints & tax capacities
-economic cycles (service econ & internet sales)
-bonds & debt limits
System in which the tax rate paid reflects the ability to pay - tax rate rises as the base rises
Progressive Tax System
This tax has the same rate for all tax payers regardless of income or ability to pay. (Tax rate falls as the base falls).

This rate remains the same regardless of income or value of the transaction?
Regressive Tax system

Flat Tax
These taxes are charges levied against products to reduce overall consumption while increasing revenue.
Ex: Alcohol & tobacco
Excise, or sin, taxes
How have state budgets & tax systems been impacted by the rise of the Internet and the rise of a service economy?
1. Services have become a much more important part of the economy - sales taxes are skewed toward purchase of products rathar than of services (ex: by massage chair at mall, pay $97 in sales and $800 for the item. Hire massage therapist for one hour, pay no sales tax.)
2. Online shopping; most are tax-free.
For the 6 major tax types, relate the appropriate level of gov't (state or local)and policy area
Sales- state
motor vehicle-state
Estate-state; both
Gift-state; both
Taxes on natural resources; removing them from the land - coal, oil, gas, fish
Severance taxes
Money collected from contributions, assessments, insurance premiums, or payroll taxes
Insurance Trust $$
Charges levied by gov'ts in exchange for services; type of hidden tax
User fee
Funds provided by the fed gov't to state gov'ts and by state gov'ts to local gov'ts
Intergovernmental transfers
The accounting period used by a gov't. - most states prepare their budgets for one or two ____.
Fiscal year
- federal FY Oct 1-Sept 30
- state FY July 1-June30
Money spent by gov't
Expenditures = revenue
Certificates that are evidence of a debt on which the issuer promises to pay the holder a specified amount of interest for a specified length of time and to repay the loans on their maturity.
Identify the major categories of state and local expenditures
1. Wages - single largest exp
2. Education - largest functional spending
3. Healthcare - most expensive
4. Welfare
5. Public safety $70 bill +
6. Infrastructure $91 bill +
What effect (progressive, regressive) do sales tax and income tax have on tax systems?
Sales tax = regressive
Income tax= progressive
Property = progressive ?
Elected or appointed bodies that determine major policies & budgets for each of the nation's school districts.
School boards
Testing of elementary and secondary students in which poor results can mean either that the student fails to get promoted or that the school loses its accreditation
Standardized testing
The largest federal program in elementary and secondary education, it sends money to school districts based primarily on the # of children from low-income families that attend each.
Title I
Describe the influence of school districts on federal funds and on local funding for schools.
-States pay 50% of cost
-Local gov'ts pay 43%
-Federal pays about 7%

-41 states support funding through lottery
-Property tax = main tax source for funds
-Fed school funding stems from Title I money
Affluent school districts are ___ ___ that less afluent districts in providing educ resources.
More competitive
The academic degrees, work experience, and performance on adult standardized tests a state requires b4 a teacher candidate can be certified to work in a school district
Teacher licensure procedures
Certification process in which outside experts visit & evaluate a school or college to vouch for minimum quality standards
Local administrative jurisdictions that hire staff and report to school boards on management of area public schools
School Districts
Education model that uses observed spending levels in the highest-performing schools as models from which to calculate necessary spending in other, lower-performing schools
Successful Schools Model
Standardized tests designed to gauge a student's level of mastery of a given set of materials.
Criterion Referenced
Stand. tests designed to determine how a student's mastery of a set of materials compares with that of a specially designed sampling of students determined to be the nat'l "norm" for their age group
Norm Referenced
*relationship to nat'l mean student score
Known as the "nation's report card" this is the only regularly conducted independent survey of what a nationally representative sample of students in grades 4, 8, and 12 know and can do in various subjects
Nat'l Assessment of Educational Progress
Launched by the US in 1995, it is a regularly updated study that compares performance in science & mathematics of students from 32 countries
Trends in Internat'l mathematics and sciences study
Public schools, often with unique themes, managed by teachers, principals, social workers, or nonprofit groups. Movement launched in early 1990s
Charter Schools
Movement dating to the 1950s to allow taxpayer dollars to be given to familes to use at whatever public, private, or parochial schools they choose.
School Vouchers
Movement to contract out responsibilities traditionally done by the gov't to for-profit businesses in hopes of achieving greater efficiencies.
The education of children in the home; movement to grant waivers from state truancy laws to permit parents to teach their own children
Home schooling
Federal law enacted in Jan 2002 that introduced new accountability measures for elementary and secondary schools in all states that wish to receive federal aid.
No Child Left Behind Act
Identify the groups that are active in education policy(8)
1. Teachers' unions (NEA, AFT)
2. Local school boards
3. State boards of educ
4. Chief State School Officers
5. Parents' groups (Nat'l PTA)
6. Corps and business groups
7. Private schools
8. Advocacy groups
Describe how business groups, teachers' unions and the 2 political parties reform and support educ in general.
Business groups: most vocal in pushing school reform -see decline in writing & math skills = press for higher standards
Teachers' unions: Nat'l PTA; combined to form lobbying & policy force = boost parent involvement & parent-teacher cooperation
2 political parties: No Child Left Behind Act (Rep); Childrens Defense Fund (Dem); antivoucher teachers' unions (dem)
Primarily the Nat'l Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, both headquartered in Washington DC
Teachers' Unions
Founded in 1897, this umbrella org of state-based and school-based parent-teacher associations consists of volunteers who work to improve and support schools
Nat'l PTA
Describe the effect of political culture & political party on punishment mechanisms across states
All have different definitions of crime-moral turpitude
-state penalities correlates to higher proportions of Afr-Americans
-Democrats tend to favor less severe penalties than Repubs
-New Eng states favor rehab
-Penn Quakers favor silent isolation in penitenturies
-Miss favors working farms
An approach to policing that emphasizes professional relations with citizens, police independence, police in cars, and rapid responses to calls for service
Professional Model
Describe Wilson & Kelling's community policing model
broken window theory of effective policing:
-attention to minor problems as a way of preventing more serious criminal activity
-Police presence matters
Describe the advantages/disadvantages of the professional policing model
-fast response
-lots of hardware& latest technology
-tactical units
-emphasis on policy independence
-highly publicized failures
-failed to curb increasing crime rates
What are some internal problems facing the US criminal justice system?
-poor prison conditions
-sexual assault, violence
-receive inadequate treatment of mental & physical health conditions
-demographic disparities & execution techniques raise questions of justice
What are alternative punishments? (4)
1. Community corrections
2. Drug courts (re-entry courts and programs)
3. Community or restorative justice
4. Voting rights restoration
A movement that emphasizes nontraditional punishment
Community, or restorative, justice movement
An alternative forum for sentencing drug offenders
Drug courts
What is an HMO?
Health Maintenance Organization that cut costs while providing widespread healthcare insurance
Why were HMOs popular and why are they now being criticized?
-allowed fed govt to pursue goals of providing healthcare insurance to children in low-income families (SCHIP &Medicaid). Medicaid expenditures risen -HMOs then associated with rigid guidelines and "drive by deliveries" = forced states to abandon use of managed care
How do Medicare and Medicaid differ (in terms of pops served and funding)?
-federal program financed by payroll taxes
-joint state-fed program providing states w/ great policy flexibility
-not an unfunded mandate; entitlement program where: states have right to share fed $, eligible = right to services, requirements tied to fed poverty level
This provided cash assistance to widows, women abandoned by their husbands, and children
Aid to Families with Dependent Children
This replaced AFDC as the primary means for providing assistance to families in need
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
How do AFDC and TANF differ?
For TANF, series of block grants allow flexibility, replace individual entitlement, fed gov no longer signs off on state plans
What are the 3 factors that inreased healthcare expenditures in the states?
1. increasing prescription drug costs
2. need for long-term care
3. faltering economy
What factor contributed to increasing federal involvement in saftey net programs?
The Great Depression = New Deal
Describe the factors that influence differences in education policy across the states.
Stae departments of education are responsible for overseeing public education; local education agencies and school boards are responsible for administering education policy. States play a key role in licensure, accreditation, and standardized testing. Local school boards are granted budget and employment authority. As a result, there is a high degree of variation and innovation both across states and within states.
Describe the advantages and disadvantage of state laws that standardize textbooks and curriculum throughout a state.
What standards?; Criterion referenced tests - mastery according to state standards; Norm referenced tests - relationship to national mean student score; 42 states have state-standardized tests; Controversy over norm-referenced tests, and over state-to-state variation in tests that develop
What has been the effect of the devolution revolution on healthcare and welfare policy?
Demonstration projects allow states to experiment - able to expand service provision; State programs plant the seeds of modern welfare reform;Wl focuses on jobs and on the support services that recipients needed in order to get and keep a job