The way both political parties are acting, I completely understand if you want to give Washington your butt to kiss. Neither party is showing up and completely showing out for their supporters, but we can’t throw in the towel. One, too many people have fought and died for us to have the right to vote, and two, who’s in office has a major impact on minimum wages, taxes, and housing laws. All of these affect our dollar.


The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25; however, a record number of states and localities will increase their minimum wages this year. Considering the federal minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009 this type of change would not have been possible without voter participation and political pushing from underpaid workers at the state and local levels. 



Which items will be taxed and when depends on decisions made at the local level.  Several states have tax holidays, where sales taxes are waived on select items during set times during the year. Other states like Florida have no income tax which means more money in residents’ pockets.  If Florida tried to change that law, Floridians would be protesting at the Florida Department of Revenue, not Washington, to block the change. Washington would have no say in the matter; the decision would be up to the state’s elected officials.  



Each state establishes their own set of laws that govern when and how a landlord can evict a tenant. In addition to the eviction laws, states also determine rent control. Rent control can cap annual rent increases or put limits on the absolute price of a unit; it can be granted to certain low-income people or applied to all buildings of a certain type. The state decides. Given the rising cost of housing, I suspect rent control will be a hot campaign topic this year.  Shelter is often the highest expense in your budget, you’ll want to keep an eye on any changes that candidates are fighting for or against. 


Because of the nation’s structure, the local level is where you can begin to have the biggest influence and organize in an impactful way.  Each state mirrors the hierarchy of the federal government so there is an executive branch, legislative and judicial. Understanding the hierarchy and who sits in each position is important. 


table of the branches of government


Staying up to date on where local officials stand in these areas will enable you to take heed and direct your money accordingly.

Find your local leadership here and find out more about the candidates on the ballot for any upcoming elections in this sample ballot tool


Beneficial Bonus: Check out the Netflix original, The G Word with Adam Conover. The final episode, Change, focuses on local elections.