Broward League of Cities Notes Editorial on Unfunded Mandates: ‘Legislature and Governor should heed the concerns of Florida’s municipalities’

Feb 2, 2011


The following editorial outlining the burden of unfunded mandates on Florida’s municipalities was published on on January 31, 2011:


Editorial: Legislature and Governor should heed the concerns of Florida’s municipalities

Municipalities want governor mindful of burdens of unfunded state mandates

Tensions between local governments and elected leaders in Tallahassee have intensified in recent years as cities, counties and state government have wrestled with the needs of constituents while dealing with unprecedented strains on financial resources.

In too many cases, local governments like those on the Treasure Coast have had to shoulder burdens for programs and services directed by the state but without the necessary funds from the state. Those mandates essentially make the state look good for budget cuts but make local governments look bad for having to increase taxes or reduce other services to fulfill them.

“The state should pay for its own good ideas” and “Taxpayers should know which government imposes financial burdens on them” are among major themes cited in a “Keys to the Cities” document submitted in January to Gov. Rick Scott by the Florida League of Cities.

The goal of the document, said Joy Cooper, mayor of Hallandale Beach and president of the league, is to forge a “landmark partnership” between the cities and the Scott administration.

“With that in mind,” Cooper said, “the (“Keys to Cities”) task force focused on the following areas: fiscal accountability and responsibility, makinggovernment smarter, investing in opportunity, fiscal responsibility for the future and managing and sustaining recovery.”

During the Legislature’s upcoming session, cities will be looking at how lawmakers and the governor’s office deal with issues such as pension reform, education, health care, the environment, land-use planning and jobs creation and how resulting initiatives impact municipal governments.

“We believe working with the governor can take our state to even higher levels of excellence by promoting smart policies that couple spurring growth with respecting the long-term principle of home rule,” Cooper said.

Points made by the cities in their outreach to the governor include:

  • Cities play a major role in economic growth for our state.
  • State leaders should work to protect local self-government and create a new partnership with cities.
  • State policy changes should be made to avoid a municipal public safety benefits crisis.
  • Cities are the center of economic activity in our state and can encourage job creation through the continued development of Florida’s business-friendly environment.

Whether the cities have gotten the attention of the governor and the Legislature in regard to their goals and concerns may be revealed to some degree when Scott releases his budget proposals this month.

With more than 400 municipal governments in the state – and as the governments closest to the people – the cities need to have their voices heard and to be seriously considered during debates over the direction the state as a whole should take.




Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Timothy Fordham Stanfield ( or (850) 701-3101) or Jennifer J.H. Pierce ( or (954) 332-1776) at Colodny Fass.