State legislators are constantly making tradeoffs between changing taxes and providing public services. Not only must they reconcile their own policy preferences with the preferences of their constituents, but they must consider the impact of actions taken by both the federal government and competing states. Glenn Beamer uses a series of in-depth case studies in eleven states to show how legislators made decisions dealing with taxation, economic development, education financing, and Medicaid.
Beamer identifies six factors that influence legislators' decisions: accountability, dependability, equity, obscurability, and horizontal and vertical transferability. Within the context created by citizen demands, intergovernmental politics, policy histories, court interventions, and state constitutions, this study analyzes how legislators employ these principles to develop and enact policies.
In addition to modeling state politics within the context of federalism, Creative Politics, reflecting the author's extensive interviews with legislators, is novel in its focus on politicians' views about public services, the strategies to finance them, and efforts to develop and maintain political support for them.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, economics, and public administration, and, more specifically, of federalism, state politics and policy, and legislative decision-making.
Glenn Beamer is Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of California, Berkeley, and Assistant Professor of Government, University of Virginia.