Mandates in Florida: Myths , Trends, and Facts. Jaclyn A. Bunch LeRoy Collins Fellow Doctoral Candidate March 21 st , 2012. What is a Mandate.
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Jaclyn A. Bunch
LeRoy Collins Fellow
March 21st, 2012
Effective July 1, 1978, any laws passed by the Florida Legislature that mandate a municipality or county to perform an activity or provide a service or facility that would require additional local expenditures must include an estimate of the total cost and provide a means for financing it.
However a survey by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) in 1989 cited Florida as one of several states who felt the provisions against mandates had little impact.
In 1990, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that protects local governments against the imposition of unfunded mandates. The amendment permits local governments to ignore a state law requiring them to spend funds unless: 1) the law was passed by two-thirds vote of both houses and 2) the legislature has declared the legislation fulfills an important state interest. If these two requirements are not met, the state must appropriate sufficient funds to pay for the mandate or provide a new local funding source
Florida needs to reinstitute an independent group to recognize and estimate the cost of statutory mandates on local governments.
Florida statute needs to better define key words in the constitutional amendment including terms such as “insignificant fiscal impact”.
The independent commission should produce an annual report which includes the cost of individual mandates in addition to an aggregate cost across all mandates.
In recognition of the cumulative effect of the mandates, and the difficulty of estimating real costs, the independent commission should conduct analysis of a sample of local government, each fiscal year, to determine the actual fiscal impact of continual mandates.