2005 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS
URBAN ECONOMY POLICY

STRENGTHENING THE UNFUNDED MANDATES REFORM ACT

WHEREAS, federal legislation and regulations continue to impose enormous financial burdens on U.S. cities, which is particularly problematic in a time of great fiscal crisis for state and local governments; and

WHEREAS, the 1995 Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)was an important first step in making federal lawmakers and agencies aware of the impact of unfunded mandates on state and local governments, it has only slowed, but not stopped this imposition; and

WHEREAS, UMRA’s definition of mandates is excessively narrow and its cost threshold unrealistically high, making it ineffective in preventing the ever rising cost of unfunded mandates; and WHERAS, UMRA does not adequately address the various forms that mandates take – unfunded mandates, underfunded mandates, unreasonable grant requirements, preemption of local authority – preventing it from accomplishing its purpose; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Mayors believe that the federal government should provide adequate funding for its mandates, not force localities to sacrifice provision of services and reasonable local tax rates in order to comply with federal mandates; and

WHEREAS, federal mandates preempt local authority by replacing local goals with federal priorities and preventing local governments from determining the best way to meet their citizen’s needs and spend their local tax dollars; and

WHEREAS, unfunded mandates erode the federalist tradition and deference to local authority that are central to the American tradition of governance,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the federal and state governments to broaden the definition of a mandate to include recognized cost shifts that do not fall within the current strict definition and high cost threshold; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms in the legislative process to prevent the imposition of new unfunded mandates without a super majority vote in both the house and senate; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms in the agency rulemaking process to prevent the imposition of new unfunded mandates without the appropriate level of scrutiny; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors encourages Congress to enhance the consultation and cooperation by federal agencies with state and local officials on the projected intergovernmental costs of a mandate; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to create a mechanism to identify the actual costs for state and local governments to comply with mandates after they have been imposed.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352
info@usmayors.org