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Tension Between State And Local Government May Stifle Good Policies

Monday, Apr. 2, 2012

State versus local government. It’s a battle waged across the country, but as an editorial in the Baltimore Sun suggests, it’s sometimes important for the state to take the lead, “where the interests of the state as a whole need to be factored into the mix, and where local governments need to be held more accountable, not less”

The paper cites education, land and water use, and building codes as some of the areas where Maryland residents could use the assistance of the State House. It also calls out the need for “bolstering minimum ethics standards” as one area where the state lawmakers are justified in their intervention.

Acknowledging that the state’s involvement is often problematic, the paper emphasizes that “local governments must recognize when broader issues of public interest are at stake.”

As a former mayor who strongly supports local control, I usually weigh in on the side of the cities. But I agree that using state government as a scapegoat is unnecessary. “Not every mandate is an unwarranted intrusion.”

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