Meanwhile, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins just announced the passage of a bill in the state senate requiring the state to pay for unfunded mandates.
The bill requires the state to fund any mandated program imposed on local governments and school districts and would protect local municipalities from bearing the cost of programs created and/ or originated by the State, allowing local officials to set their own priorities without the possibility of future unfunded mandated programs disrupting their budgets.
"Unfunded mandates create real struggles for local governments and school districts, so any steps we can take to relieve those burdens are welcome news. Cash-strapped local governments have had to make difficult choices through the recession and unfunded mandates have made that task even more difficult. This legislation places the responsibility of funding State mandated programs where it belongs, on the State," said Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
The legislation, S.1294, defines an unfunded mandate as "any state law, rule or regulation which establishes a new program requires a higher level of service for an existing program which a municipal corporation is required to provide, and which results in a net additional cost to such municipal corporation." It requires the state to provide school districts and local governments "compensation or funding... of the full amount of the net additional costs" of any unfunded mandate it imposed upon localities.