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The Great Recession's impact in the United States is far reaching and the choices facing state and local governments are sometimes stark: trade-offs between roads and schools, public safety and health care. The new edition of Governing States and Localities continues to respond to this reality with a sharp focus on economic and budget pressures. The Fourth Edition has been thoroughly revised and updated. Well-designed pedagogical features ask students to apply the comparative method ("A Difference that Makes a Difference"), to see how intergovernmental relations impact localities ("Local Focus"), and to see examples of how policies are actually implemented ("Policy in Practice"). An engaging full-color design, a vivid selection of photographs, updated tables and figures, and a marginal glossary all combine to keep students focused and learning.