Top 3 Local: Polar Vortex Edition

On January 10, 2014

Thanks to the “polar vortex,” chances are the weather was much colder in your neck of the woods this week. Nevertheless, there were still inspiring examples of federalism in action. To kick off the New Year and commemorate this week of frigid temperatures, we are returning to our Top 3 stories of local people making local decisions. To check out the last post of 2013, click here.

FOR ENCOURAGEMENT: “Polar Vortex” brings local communities together

Despite freezing temperatures this week, local communities across the country rallied together in a number of ways. In West Virginia, one man offered a ride to a man waiting in the freezing cold at a bus stop. In Kentucky, neighbors rallied together to help get a homeless woman off the streets for the week. And in Illinois, one community implemented a new communication system to alert citizens to hazardous conditions, including specifying which roads in town were in the worst shape, and also to keep them apprised of the municipality’s snow removal efforts.

FOR INSPIRATION: CSG leaders point to Federalism as key issue in 2014

Leaders from the nonpartisan Council of State Governments (CSG) outlined some of this year’s top priorities and issues in their winter magazine. Each lawmaker cited dysfunction in Washington, D.C. as a key hurdle for states and a return to federalism as the solution. One legislator explained, “States are functioning very well from a governmental standpoint, by and large, but we’re all being hobbled by the crippling effects of the dysfunction in D.C.”

FOR MOTIVATION: State Debt Totals $5.1 Trillion

This week, our parent organization, State Budget Solutions (SBS), released its fourth annual State Debt Study that takes an in-depth look at the debt facing all 50 states. SBS found that the combined state debt nationwide totaled $5.1 trillion. If states are ever going to reduce reliance on the federal government, they must first get their own debt under control.

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