This Issue of the Law Review brings together the articles presented at a two-day conference on state and local government held at The University of Chicago Law School in June 2009. As the “toolkit” metaphor invoked in the conference title suggests, participants were invited to explore the full range of mechanisms that states and localities can use to spur economic development, provide services to their constituents, and otherwise pursue their ends as economic, social, and political actors. While one high-profile tool, eminent domain, has been the subject of intense scholarly scrutiny, we hoped that the conference would broaden the academic conversation to encompass some lowerprofile, but equally potent, entries in the state and local policy menu. Consistent with those aspirations, the articles cover a wide array of topics and represent a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives. Examining the policy space open to states and localities is an especially timely undertaking, as the recent financial meltdown has placed severe budgetary constraints on subnational governments while fueling popular resistance to increased taxation. State and local jurisdictions now offer venues for creatively confronting some of the most longstanding and enduring dilemmas of governance in the context of these tightening constraints.
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