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Mandate Legislation

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is concerned by the impact of mandates on state and local governments by higher levels of government. These mandates impose costs on the state or local unit by reducing its revenue base or requiring programs or minimum service levels.

Mandates may serve to promote important social goals. On the other hand, federal or state government mandates frequently only shift a programmatic of fiscal burden. An example is the proposed requirement that state and local employees be covered by Medicare to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Given the finite level of financial resources, the withdrawal of support for the projects and programs originally mandated by higher levels of government and differing perceptions of priorities and appropriateness, the Government Finance Officers Association recommends that federal and state governments exercise restraint in the number of mandates that will adversely affect the revenues, expenditures, and revenue-producing ability of lower levels of government. Further, the Association supports efforts to provide relief from the administrative chaos that often results from combined federal and state mandates.

In order to ease the burden of mandates, the Government Finance Officers Association recommends that:

  • a fiscal note accompany proposed legislation to disclose and assess the fiscal burden being mandated;
  • adequate time be provided so that affected governments can make the resource and administrative accommodations necessary to comply with the mandate; and
  • funding be provided or an alternative revenue source be authorized by the mandating jurisdiction to defray the mandated costs.


Adopted: June 3, 1986