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State and Local Government, Responsibilities of State and Local Government
federal system, state legislatures, public schools, creatures, Local authority
State and local governments exercise important functions in the United States. They plan and pay for most roads, run public schools, provide water, organize police and fire services, establish zoning regulations, license professions, and arrange elections for their citizens. These are functions that directly affect Americans every day and in every part of their lives.
State and local governments have never been totally separate political entities, because they cooperate in services ranging from welfare to transportation, and because they serve the same residents. Nonetheless, the state has the final decision over local functions. While states are part of the larger entity of a federal system, local governments are creatures of the state. The state government can abolish a local government, merge it with other entities, or give it additional authority. Local authority comes from specific state constitutional provisions or from acts of the state legislatures.
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