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california politics project chp. 8

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Chapter 8
No citizens in the United States and the state of California claim that they should pay more taxes. Almost everybody dislikes paying taxes, and almost everybody thinks that the money that is collected is spent incorrectly and therefore wasted. However, although most people oppose increased taxes, they also oppose program cuts. In fact, as the state of California's surplus swelled in 2000, 67 percent of the respondents in a statewide survey in California said that they would have preferred using the surplus revenue for state and local services such as education, law enforcement, and transportation, compared with 20 percent who called for a rebate. Like their national counterparts, Californian public policy makers have struggled to find a fair system of taxation to pay for needed programs. Given the involvement of so many public and private interests, however, fairness is difficult to determine. Moreover, during the past few decades taxation and budget decisions have been subject to radical change. Somehow the state's infrastructure has survived, as has the national infrastructure; although critics have been less than thrilled with the fiscal uncertainty that has become commonplace in Californian government.
Chapter 9 part 1
Both citizens and the media tend to focus on state and national politics, but local government activities often have a greater impact on our daily lives. Cities, countries, and school district s make decisions affecting the traffic on our streets, the quality and quantity of our water, the comfort and safety of our neighborhoods, the education of our children, and the assistance available to those of us who fall on hard times. Local government is also where citizens can have their greatest influence, simply because it is closer than Sacramento for the Californian government and Washington D.C. for the national government. But although local governments are accountable to the citizens they serve, they are also agencies of the state of California. Local governments are created by state law, which assigns them their rights and duties, mandating some functions and activities and prohibiting others. The state also allocates taxing powers and snares revenues with local governments at any time, expanding or reducing their tasks, their funding, and their independence.
Chapter 9 part 2
California's political system gives residents of cities and counties many opportunities to decide what sort of communities they want, and Californians have made good use of these opportunities. But the state also limits what can be done at the local level of government within the state of California, as Proposition 13 and on going budget battles clearly show. Some may even dispute such intervention, but the state of California's authority remains supreme over its local governments just as the United States' government has supreme authority over all state governments.
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"Most Victorians- particularly middle class Victorians- were more actively religious than their eighteent-century predecessors."
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