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Mandate fight gets boost from Florida senator.

Florida League of Cities (FLC) President Sadye Gibbs Martin, mayor of Plant City; Raymond Sittig, FLC executive director; and Frank Shafroth, NLC's director for Policy and Federal Relations last week joined Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla) at a press conference in Washington, D.C. to endorse two bills Mack introduced to limit unfunded federal mandates or require compensation where they are imposed on cities and towns.

NLC President Glenda Hood wrote Mack that "enactment of such legislation by the 102nd Congress is one of the highest priorities of the National League of Cities. "We strongly support and are committed to work for action on your bills to block legislation--whether authorization or revenue bills, regulations, or federal preemptions which interfere with and impose unfunded costs on municipalities--or to compensate state and local governments for any additional unfunded costs."

In his statement, Mack said:

"Congress must break the bad habit of enacting laws and implementing regulations that unfairly saddle the cities and the states with excessive costs."

Under his first or "point of order" bill, any member of the House or Senate would be permitted to raise a point of order against consideration of any legislation or amendment with unfunded mandates.

The second bill, the "Federal Mandate Relief Act of 1992," would establish procedures to require the federal government to reimburse cities and towns for the cost of compliance with intergovernmental laws, rules, and regulations.

Florida League President Martin told the Senator and press conference that up to 25 percent of municipal budgets in Florida now go to comply with federally mandated projects, programs, costs, and benefits:

"The question is not whether or not such mandates are good or bad; the bottom line is that it should not be easy to shift the taxing burden from one level of government to another. If the program has national significance, then the funding should be provided by the national government."

Sittig noted that Florida cities and towns are under a state-imposed tax cap, so that federaly imposed, unfunded mandates displace priorities adopted by local elected officials and voters:

"We are particularly encouraged by Senator Mack's accurate observation that unfunded federal mandates have significantly eroded the ability of state and local governments to prioritize and service the needs of their citizens. The debate should force appropriate funding decisions side-by-side with the merit of the mandate."
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Title Annotation:Connie Mack
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 16, 1992
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