Concurrent powers are powers that are held by both the federal government and the states or provinces that make up a federalist nation. They exist because states and federal governments have similar needs. Both typically need to keep people safe, support their economies, and punish wrongdoers.
One of the most often cited examples of a concurrent power is taxation. In the United States, the federal government can tax its citizens and the states can tax their residents. This means that one person will pay both the federal income tax and the income taxes imposed by the state in which the person lives. The state and federal governments then use the money to pay for government needs and services.
Other concurrent powers include the power to make roads, create lower courts, borrow money, create and enforce laws, and charter banks and corporations. These powers may vary depending on the nation. In cases where laws created by the states conflict with federal law, the states must conform to the federal law. Countries in which concurrent powers are shared between the federal and state governments include India, Canada, Australia, and the United States, among others.
The Constitution of the United States does not explicitly grant concurrent powers; rather, it only implies that they should exist. Concurrent powers were, however, mentioned by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers. Hamilton was a founding father and the first US Secretary of the Treasury. He wrote that it was important for states to maintain their sovereignty, and he thought that concurrent powers could help them achieve this.
States also hold reserved powers, which are any powers not explicitly granted to the federal government by the constitution. Examples include the power to create schools, run elections, and manage state government. These powers are important because they keep the federal government from having too much control over the states.
The federal government holds delegated powers. These are powers explicitly granted to the federal government by the constitution, including the ability to declare war and coin money. Delegated powers help the country to maintain consistency between states and operate without the consent of individual states.
Conversely, denied powers are things the government is not allowed to do. Many of these are found in the Bill of Rights — the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. For example, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." These powers protect citizens from interference by the government.