Intergovernmental Relationships

The national government’s ability to achieve its objectives often requires the participation of state and local governments. Intergovernmental grants offer positive financial inducements to get states to work toward selected national goals. A grant is commonly likened to a “carrot” to the extent that it is designed to entice the recipient to do something. On the other hand, unfunded mandates impose federal requirements on state and local authorities. Mandates are typically backed by the threat of penalties for non-compliance and provide little to no compensation for the costs of implementation. Thus, given its coercive nature, a mandate is commonly likened to a “stick.”