Chambers Advocate for Prohibition of Unfunded Mandates

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The boards of directors of the Temple Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Killeen
Chamber of Commerce, the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and the Belton Chamber of
Commerce have joined together to advocate for the prohibition of unfunded state mandates on local
political subdivisions.

Unfunded mandates are state laws passed by the Texas Legislature requiring a local political
subdivision to perform certain functions with no provision for state funding to offset the cost of the
implementation of those mandates.

Resolutions and position statements adopted by the four business organizations state among the
reasons for their position is because the practice significantly contributes to the necessity to increase local property tax rates.

Mostly all of the local political subdivisions – including counties, cities, school districts, community colleges and universities – are financially impacted by unfunded mandates.

A 2016 Unfunded Mandate Survey by the Texas Association of Counties contains the details of the impact of 30 unfunded state mandates on Texas’ 254 counties.

The county’s cost for supporting the Judicial System alone was $1.570 billion.

Locally, for example, unfunded mandates on Indigent Health Care cost the citizens of Bell County $4.08
million, or 3.66 cents on the property tax rate. The Indigent Legal Defense mandate cost the citizens of
Bell County $3.6 million or 2.65 cents on the tax rate.

Among other unfunded mandates are the Hazelwood Act, which provides free education to veterans and members of veteran’s families at higher education institutions and the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption. 

The chambers are asking legislators to, at a minimum, pass legislation prohibiting state mandates
without providing state funds to pay for the full implementation of those mandates.

The chambers are encouraging their member businesses to contact members of the legislature to voice
their concerns.

Source: Temple Chamber of Commerce

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