Florida is a state in the south eastern United States located in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Also known as Sunshine or Everglade state, it is one of the confederate states that existed during the American Civil War. Tallahassee is the capital city of the state of Florida. Federalism refers to a political system where the powers are divided between a regional government and the central government (Davies, Clarence and Mazurek 11). It works by concentrating all the power in the hands of the national government while on the other hand it gives all the power to the state government in a confederal system.
In America for example, federalism has existed and practiced for almost a century now. The national or the central government is charged with creating laws, declaring war, establishing an army and printing money. On the other hand, the local government is charged with regulating interstate commerce, provide public health and safety, conduct elections and form local governments (Brambor, William and Golder 63). The two governments also share various responsibilities such as building highways, chartering banks, corporations, borrowing money and collecting taxes. It is against this background that the paper seeks to examine how the American federalism has both help and hurt the state of Florida and will proceed to give examples of the two scenarios.
Federalism in the United States have been beneficial in that it has fostered state loyalties, realized pragmatism, it has created laboratories of democracy, created political stability, encouraged pluralism, and it has also ensured the separation of powers and prevented tyranny. In respect to the state of Florida federalism has been able to offer representation to different groups of individuals. Federalism has been able to share power that equalizes both the national government and the citizens.
Federalism has ensured that the government of Florida is close to its citizens. This is because every region or state has problems and needs that are specific to the region. Federalism has, therefore, allowed state governments to address the needs of the people because they understand the needs of the people. Central governments tend to address the needs of majorities therefore by delocalizing power to state governments the needs of minorities are addressed, and their rights are protected. For example, the state of Florida has been in a position to have education policies that attend to the minority like the Hispanics. The state of Florida has been in the forefront to provide bilingual education more than the other states because of the large population of Hispanics.
Another benefit of federalism to the state of Florida is that it ensures that the separation of powers and prevent tyranny and run away power. The independence of the arms of government ensures that the citizens of Florida enjoy institutional independence. For example, in case the independence the three branches of federal government are compromised then the citizens of Florida are guaranteed the security of independence within their local governments. Therefore, this ensures that the citizens are protected from tyrannical and run away leadership.
Federalism has also ensured loyalty among the citizens of the various states. In respect to the state of Florida, federalism has helped fostered loyalties among the citizens of these states. This ensures that citizens work harder to ensure that their state is among the leading states regarding economic power and prosperity. This ensures that citizens work towards state building by promoting activities that generate income to the state. For example, citizens will be tax compliant, and this will ensure that the state has income and wealth to support various projects in the state.
Federalism has also been able to create laboratories of democracy. This has encouraged innovation in law and policy. The existence of many state governments permits the trial of different sets of policies thus contributing to state building (Schuck 57). Whenever policy trials are conducted in the various states, the resulting laws end up being beneficial when implemented in states. Therefore, federalism allows for citizens to try and implement laws that attend to their needs and can be extended at the federal level.
Another benefit of federalism to the citizens of Florida is that it has been able to increase citizen participation at the local level. The system expands government on national, local and state levels thus giving the citizens an opportunity to access their leaders and participate in their governance (Hamilton 9). Citizen participation ensures that the people increase their ability to effect government policy, lawmaking, and governance. It also ensures accountability of the state governance which translates to proper resource use in the state.
Federalism also has various shortcomings in the various states. Some of the shortcomings of federalism are that it prevents the creation of a national policy. It also promotes the lack of accountability in the state. Another limitation is that it allows for inequality between the various states. In respect to the state of Florida, the major shortcoming of federalism is inequality. There is a wide gap between the rich and the poor states. For example, when it comes to education the wealth and earnings of the state influence the state of education in Florida (Peck 21). Richer states like Massachusetts have always led in education while states such as Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. These are some of the shortcomings federalism that faces the state of Florida.
Another limitation is the inequality in distributing the grants-in-aid system. States with larger concentrations of income tend to pay a large bulk of the country’s income tax. When it comes to spending states, also differ regarding spending. For example, in 2010, the state of Florida received the lowest per capita amount compared to other states (Seifter 6). The variations are caused by various factors such distribution on a discretionary basis. Another limitation is that the aids are distributed using formulas based on poverty levels, populations, and income levels.
Lack of national policy as a result of the existing policies in the various states hinder development and policies regarding the development of individual states. There are limited national policies that address allocation of resources to the respective states thus causing some states to suffer regarding resources allocation (Birkland 13). Lack of such policies limits funding of state projects like health care and education.
In conclusion, it is evident from the text above that the benefits of federalism to the state of Florida far outweighs its limitations (Lakoff 14). Therefore, credit is given to federalism when it comes to development in the state of Florida except that reforms ought to be introduced to address the various gaps created by federalism.