PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WOULD END UNFUNDED MANDATES
The League has frequently reported on the fear that the legislature will place further unfunded mandates on local governments in an attempt to balance the state budget. One legislator, Representative Burt Solomons (R - Carrollton), has proposed a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the legislature from doing so in the future.
H.J.R. 56 would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that no bill enacted by the legislature on or after January 1, 2012, requiring a local government to establish, expand, or modify a duty or activity that requires the expenditure of revenue by the local government shall be effective until and unless the legislature appropriates or otherwise provides non-local government revenue to fund it.
Representative Solomons is to be commended for his work to protect local government autonomy. In addition, Governor Perry has recently been quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying that one way to stop government spending is elimination of rules the state imposes on cities, counties, and school districts. “We need to look at all the unfunded mandates that are on our books, that we in our wisdom in Austin, Texas, said here is what you need to do.” While the governor has been criticizing Washington regulations put on the states, he said, “If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.”