Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 080326
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File Number: 080326 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-252-08 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT STRENGTHENING THE UNFUNDED MANDATES Introduced: 1/31/2008
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 3/4/2008
Agenda Date: 3/4/2008 Agenda Item Number: 11A15
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AND TAXATION & BUDGET REFORM COMMISSION TO PLACE ON THE STATEWIDE BALLOT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT STRENGTHENING THE PROVISION OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION PROHIBITING UNFUNDED MANDATES
Indexes: LEGISLATURE
Sponsors: Rebeca Sosa, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Joe A. Martinez, Co-Sponsor
  Katy Sorenson, Co-Sponsor
  Sen. Javier D. Souto, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 3/4/2008 11A15 Adopted P

Budget and Finance Committee 2/12/2008 2R Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. It was moved by Commissioner Sosa that this proposed resolution be forwarded to the County Commission with a favorable recommendation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Gimenez. Commissioners Diaz, Gimenez, Souto, Sosa, Sorenson, and Chairman Martinez asked that they be listed as co-sponsors. Commissioner Sorenson pointed out the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) failed in Colorado. In response to Commissioner Sorenson’s comments concerning the Taxation & Budget Reform Commission (TBRC), Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty advised the TBRC had the ability to place a question directly on the ballot, however, he was not sure whether the TBRC would place its proposal directly on the ballot or send it through the Florida Legislature. He explained the TBRC proposal would impose additional spending caps on local governments and the State for ad valorem revenue and fee generated revenue, and set a base year and capped increases in spending to population growth and the rate of inflation; local governments and the State would have to stay within the cap and excess revenue would be placed in a reserve fund or reduce taxes. He pointed out Colorado had suspended TABOR. Commissioner Sorenson pointed out Colorado suspended TABOR when citizens demand a higher quality of life than provided by the level of taxes. She questioned the logic of Florida implementing a program that another state had shown was a failure. Commissioner Sosa emphasized the public needed to know tax dollars were being spent on mandates that did not have proper funding. She noted she would send letters to each municipality requesting their support on this issue. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote.

County Attorney 1/31/2008 Referred Budget and Finance Committee 2/12/2008

County Attorney 1/31/2008 Assigned Jess M. McCarty 2/5/2008

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AND TAXATION & BUDGET REFORM COMMISSION TO PLACE ON THE STATEWIDE BALLOT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT STRENGTHENING THE PROVISION OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION PROHIBITING UNFUNDED MANDATES

BODY

WHEREAS, unfunded mandates arise when the Legislature passes legislation that imposes requirements or obligations on local governments without providing commensurate funding or a means by which local governments can raise funds necessary to pay for the requirements or obligations; and
WHEREAS, in 1990, Florida voters approved the unfunded mandates provision of the Florida Constitution, Article VII, Section 18; and
WHEREAS, the unfunded mandates provision provides that no county or city is bound to follow any law passed by the Legislature that requires the county or city to spend funds or to take an action requiring the expenditure of funds; and,
WHEREAS, the Legislature can override the unfunded mandates provision with a two-thirds vote and a finding that the legislation fulfills an important state interest; and
WHEREAS, there is also a long list of exceptions to which the unfunded mandates provision does not apply, including:
* Criminal laws;
* Election laws;
* The state’s general appropriations act;
* Special state appropriations acts;
* Laws reauthorizing but not expanding existing statutory authority;
* Laws having insignificant fiscal impact;
* Laws creating, modifying or repealing noncriminal infractions;
* Laws to require funding of pension benefits existing on February 1, 1989; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature in recent years has on a number of occasions overridden the unfunded mandates provision and/or passed unfunded mandates that are exceptions to the unfunded mandates provision, including:
* Requiring counties to pay the cost of predisposition juvenile detention costs, at a cost of approximately $11 million annually to Miami-Dade County taxpayers;

* Requiring counties to pay part of the cost of new voting equipment, which is estimated at approximately $6.5 million annually to Miami-Dade County taxpayers;

* Requiring counties to pay for the cost of the 11th through 45th days for Medicaid inpatient hospital patients, and $55 per person per month for Medicaid nursing home patients, at a cost of approximately $9.4 million annually to Miami-Dade County taxpayers;

* Requiring cities and counties to provide financial support for fiscally-constrained counties through satellite TV revenues diverted from cities and counties statewide to fiscally-constrained counties, at a cost of approximately $1.9 million annually to Miami-Dade County taxpayers;

* Requiring counties to pay for the cost of office space, security and computers and other office equipment for the Regional Conflict Counsel Offices for criminal defense conflict and appointed civil cases, at a cost of approximately $1.1 million annually to Miami-Dade County taxpayers; and


WHEREAS, when the Legislature passes legislation imposing unfunded mandates on local governments, the funding obligations imposed on taxpayers don’t disappear, they instead shift from sales taxes to increased property taxes; and
WHEREAS, strengthening the Unfunded Mandates Amendment in the Florida Constitution may provide further protection from increases in property taxes by providing additional barriers to the Legislature shifting the funding of government programs to local governments and in turn property taxes; and
WHEREAS, unfunded mandates are appealing to the Legislature because unfunded mandates allow the Legislature to balance the state’s budget and pass legislation creating new programs and benefits without the state incurring the cost of such legislation; and
WHEREAS, the allure of unfunded mandates to the Legislature increases when the state faces difficult budget challenges; and
WHEREAS, current fiscal projections estimate that the Legislature will have to reduce the state budget by as much as $2 billion for fiscal year 2008-09 compared with fiscal year 200910; and
WHEREAS, this reduction comes after cuts that have already been made to the state budget of approximately $2 billion over the last year; and
WHEREAS, a proposal has been filed for consideration by the Taxation & Budget Reform Commission that would place a question on the statewide ballot that would strengthen the unfunded mandates provision of the Florida Constitution, which is Constitutional Proposal 46 by Commissioner Mike Hogan, who is the Tax Collector for Jacksonville/Duval County,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature and Taxation & Budget Reform Commission to place on the statewide ballot a constitutional amendment strengthening the provision of the Florida Constitution prohibiting unfunded mandates.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation, and Chair and Members of the Taxation & Budget Reform Commission.
Section 3. Directs the County's state lobbyists to advocate for the issue identified in Section 1 above, and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2008 state legislative package.




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