November 16, 2010
The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Chairman
Senate Republican Conference
Washington, D.C. 20510
RE: UNFUNDED FEDERAL MANDATES
Dear Senator Alexander:
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) supports your resolution encouraging Congress to avoid imposing new federal unfunded mandates on state and local governments. NCSL has previously supported points of order against legislation imposing unfunded federal mandates and applauds you for recommending such as an amendment to the Budget Act or the annual budget resolution.
States continue to cope with fiscal uncertainties while adhering to balanced budget requirements. NCSL’s most recent data indicates that up to 10 percent of a state’s general fund budget goes to filling in gaps in federal unfunded mandates. That is a significant sum and one that makes state budget decision making unnecessarily onerous.
NCSL believes the letter and spirit of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 has contributed substantially to developing state-federal programs with appropriate cost-sharing. Nonetheless, the burden of both older and newer mandates lingers, making your resolution an important addition to strengthened intergovernmental relations.
Senator Richard T. Moore
Senator Don Balfour
Immediate Past President, NCSL