CSG Statement of Principles on Federalism
The diversity of policy experimentation and accountable governance made possible by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has enabled our nation to thrive despite the changing needs of a global economy. Given the importance of federalism to our future, it is essential that The Council of State Governments dedicate itself to preserving the role of the states as the “laboratories of democracy” and work both to limit unnecessary federal intrusions into areas of state responsibility and to foster effective cooperation in areas of shared jurisdiction.
Principles for State-Federal Relations
Though the federal government has a vital role to play in advancing national priorities through the powers enumerated to it by the U.S. Constitution, our founders recognized long ago that many of the challenges our citizens face can best be addressed at the state level. The Council of State Governments affirms the vital importance of the federal system to our nation’s future and encourages the federal government to adhere to the following principles when developing laws, enacting regulations or rendering judicial rulings which impact state powers.
Principles on Avoiding Pre-emption – Before 1900 the federal government had enacted only 29 statutes that pre-empted state law; but since1900, there have been more than 500 federal pre-emptions.
Principles on Avoiding Unfunded Mandates – A 2011 report by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the cost of federal regulation and the impact of unfunded mandates noted that federal mandates cost states, cities and the general public between $44 and $62 billion each year.
Principle on Promoting Flexibility – In 2010, grants in aid to state and local governments totaled more than $480 billion.  Most of the 42 major state-federal grant programs, however, will see substantial cuts over the next decade as a result of the federal fiscal crisis.
Principles on Promoting State Input in International Trade Agreements – While the power to make treaties is solely a federal role, modern international trade agreements have moved beyond setting tariff limits to include commitments on state government procurement, regulatory transparency standards, and other requirements that impact the powers and duties of state governments.
Adopted as an Interim Policy Resolution by CSG’s Leadership Council – June 22, 2013