Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Susan Hoffmann
Dr. J. Kevin Corder
Dr. Robert Peters
Masters Thesis-Campus Only
How and why do states pass impact fee enabling legislation? Twenty-seven states adopted impact fee enabling legislation since 1987; 23 states are holdouts. What accounts for passage or failure to pass? Political, economic, institutional and demographic factors are identified in the literature as influences on state environmental policymaking. Hypotheses are developed that reflect Sabatier’s advocacy coalition framework and Berry’s policy diffusion explanations. Primary data gathering devices include a survey of legislators in selected states that considered impact fee enabling legislation, telephone interviews of political elites in those states, and related demographic data on population growth and land use.
I find that the likelihood of a state impact fee policy adoption is affected by the demographic factors of high population growth rates and loss of farmland plus the political factors of gubernatorial and interest group political activity and the institutional factors of constitutional provisions like home rule and tax limitations. Time is needed to build collaborative approaches with economic interests. Development of an environmental culture is important to overcome barriers. Influences like nearby state innovations, blue-ribbon studies and ballot initiative threats expedite agenda setting.
Cotton, Ryan, "The Politics of Environmental Legislation: A Case Study on State Impact Fee Enabling Legislation" (2010). Masters Theses. 367.