What Do State and Local Governments Do?


Although federal law is the law of the land, state and local governments play a pivotal role in our everyday lives. There are many things that state and local governments are responsible for that many people take for granted. What are some of these tasks?

States Run Their Own School Systems
State governments set educational standards for children in the state. In addition, they also provide funding for state colleges. This funding makes it easier for students to get a college education. The local government is responsible for ensuring that they provide transportation, teachers and safe classrooms for the students.

States Can Levy Their Own Taxes
State and local governments are able to levy taxes on their citizens through a decree or through the popular vote. For example, a state can levy a sales tax, an income tax or a tax on tobacco. These taxes must then be collected by the local governments and sent to the state in a timely manner.

States Can Make Driving Laws
A state can decide what its speed limit is going to be and how it will enforce its DUI laws. If you are caught driving under the influence in New York, the punishment may be different than if you are pulled over for driving under the influence in New Hampshire. Additionally, states can determine how old that you must be to obtain a license to drive and what hours that minors are banned from driving.

State and local governments have the autonomy to do many things. Regardless of where you live, you are responsible for knowing and following the law at all times. Ignorance of the law is never accepted as a valid defense.


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