Checks, Balances, and Shared Power

Federal, State, and Local Governments Follow Same Pattern

September 2017


State and local government in Wisconsin follows the template created by the U.S. Constitution. Power is shared between three coequal branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—and dispersed among the state and local governments. A closer look at state and local taxes and spending shows how each level of government plays a separate and distinct role in providing public services.

The American Revolution was fought by British colonists rebelling against a distant king and parliament over “taxation without representation” and other oppressive policies.
After winning independence, America’s founders were determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past. They were suspicious of any system that concentrated too much power in any one institution or level of government.