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Cities, Counties Fight Mandates

March 24th, 2010 by flanews

The Florida League of Cities and the Association of Counties are asking state lawmakers for more wiggle room in their budgets.

Mayors and County Commissioners say unfunded mandates like those on courts, pensions, and health care are breaking their banks. Tallahassee Mayor John Marks says the mandates are making it hard for the city to balance its dwindling budget.

The legislature, under some circumstances, requires us to take certain action and provide certain services, but they dont provide the funding for it. Its not to say those services and those acts arent important. We want to do them. We dont have a problem with doing them. We only have a problem funding pension plans and those kinds of things. We need the funding and the state should provide that and not put the burden on local taxpayers, said Marks.

Rodney Long, the President of the Florida Association of Counties says the state could help counties save millions of dollars by capping inmate medical bills at Medicaid rates.

What were trying to do is ask the state to do the same thing that they do for their inmates in the Department of Corrections, which is to allow us to have under ten percent of Medicaid. So if they were to do that, then wed have some predictability of what its going to cost us back home for inmate medical care, said Long.

The request to lift the mandates comes as cities and counties are dealing their fourth year of steep budget cuts due to reduced state funding and a drop in property tax collections.

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