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Beyond North Carolina's LGBT Battle: States' War on Cities

Publication Date: 2016-03-25
  • Author:Alan Greenblatt

North Carolina's fight over LGBT protections is part of a larger recent shift in political dynamics: States are thwarting local laws any chance they get -- while simultaneously complaining about federal intrusion on their own.

There's a fundamental mismatch right now between the desires of many cities and the policy preferences of states...
State lawmakers have not been satisfied with just squelching cities on contentious social issues such as LGBT rights and gun control, or labor policies like minimum-wage increases and paid sick leave requirements. States are stepping on urban toes at practically every turn, from limiting hotel taxes to banning requirements that builders install sprinkler systems…

"In many ways, the mismatch between state political power and city market power has never been more dramatic,” says Bruce Katz, a Brookings Institution scholar who consults with metropolitan regions. “A lot of the focus is on the skirmishes around progressive policies, but the bigger issue is states impeding the ability of cities to realize their full economic potential."..

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