Exam 1 Study Guide

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Exam 1 Study Guide

Coverage of lectures 1 - 5. An overview of the different services that each level of government pays for. How Texas differs from other states and the relationships between different variables and policy.

Study Guide
Texas A&M University
Pols 207 - State & Local Goverment

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POLS 207 1st Edition Exam 1 Study Guide: Lectures 1-5 Lecture 1 50 States and 90,000 Local Governments What is the population like in the US? How does this affect public policy? What is Texas State Government like? Population: - Population increases are steady on the whole but vary by ethnic group. The white population of the US is decreasing, especially in Texas. Predicted that Hispanics will be a larger share of the population than whites in the next few years in Texas. This could change Texas from a Republican to a Democratic state. The population has changed because Texas immigration laws have become less restrictive. Also the Family Reunification Act has led to a strong increase in Mexican immigrants. Public Policy: - Different ethnic groups are interested in different policies. - Hispanics are the fastest growing group and therefore will soon have a greater impact on policy. - They tend to be more family-oriented and less able to gain a good level of education. They will often have to look after their families. Texas State Government: - Texas taxes are low so they spend little on services. They also must have a balanced budget due to their Constitution so cut spending on public services. - Texas spends the most on developing healthcare but the least on those who are uninsured. - Texas is ranked 50th for the percentage of residents with healthcare. Meaning that it is the worst state for low insurance rates. 1 in 4 Texans don’t have insurance. Lecture 2 50 States and 90,000 Local Governments What is Texas State Government like cont.? The working of the federal government and the federal system. National vs. State vs. Local laws. Texas State Government: - State government revenue is gained from taxes such as fuel tax, income tax, and sales tax among others. - Texas doesn’t fair well in state ranking tables. It has a high poverty rate (5th), high crime rate (6th) and is ranked 2nd for it’s incarcerated population. Government: - Federalism/Federal System was a unique system designed by the Founding Fathers - 50 state, 1 federal and 90,000 local governments - Most laws that affect us are actually local laws but people tend to pay less attention to these. - Texas has 254 counties, 1,196 cities, 1090 school districts and 2,245 special districts. A special district is something that provides a service for the public, such as a district that has an airport or runs the sewage system. Citizens pay for this via property tax. National vs. State vs. Local laws - Some local laws are far stricter than other localities. For examples, Bryan/College Station is fairly strict since they do not allow smoking in bars. - States and Local governments can decide their own laws but there is still the Supremacy Clause, which declares that all federal laws are supreme. This means that if there is ever a conflict between a state and federal law, the federal law wins out. - Texas is very pro-state ...

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