Why You Should Care
States spend more than the federal government on domestic services and pass more laws affecting jobs.
Under the U.S. Constitution, states have the primary responsibility for delivering domestic services. States and their localities finance almost three-quarters of all public infrastructure, including schools, highways, transit systems, safe drinking water and other projects crucial to the economy, public health and safety. State and local colleges and universities educate three-quarters of the students enrolled in institutions of higher education and states oversee and pay more than 90 percent of the cost of elementary and secondary school systems. Also, state governments pass laws and regulations that greatly influence unemployment rates and wages. This year, California’s state government will:
- Levy $120 billion in taxes and fees and direct the spending of more than $200 billion including funds provided by the federal government;
- Pass laws and issue regulations affecting the jobs, wages and economic prospects of nearly 15 million workers and the health and safety of nearly 40 million residents;
- Determine the size of prison populations, the extent of social safety nets, the number of parks and recreation centers open to the public, the quality of our environment and the state of our infrastructure;
- Oversee the education of nine million students; and
- Award billions of dollars in compensation, issue retirement promises for billions more, and select the members of state boards investing hundreds of billions of dollars set aside to protect future budgets and taxpayers from having to pay more to meet those promises.